tree bumble bee
An old beekeeper told me
about the Waggle Dance -
the shaking and stepping moves
bees make to map out
where honey can be found.
dance longer - the honey is further
dance head up - fly towards the sun
The old beekeeper told me
different species of bees
can learn each others dances
but, he said
they're all getting tired
as each year they need to dance for longer.
An old poem originally posted in June 2008 for the Storytelling theme for the now defunct Read Write Poem.
Reposted now as it was recently World Bee Day.
Find out more about the UK's bees at the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust
Meanwhile over on my Shapeshifting Green blog I've also reposted an old poem, you can read it here.
I've illustrated the poem with a tree bumble bee as I don't have any good recent photos of honey bees, but bumble bees also do a form of waggle dance
An effective - and affecting - response to the prompt. (Missing an apostrophe in "others," though.)
...and we're left to wonder what will happen when they get too tired.
When I took linguistics classes years ago the bee dances were considered this grey area between human language and animal communication. This is a great response to the prompt and a wonderful poem.
wow, that's a wonderful poem, and poignant considering what's been happening to the bees worldwide...
Bees make for great writing!
I really like this one!
Its Nature’s Way
Of telling you...
To know the dance
Of the honeybees
Is to be connected
To things primal
We must then
With a dance of our own
A dance, of action
To merely understand
We must respond
Some honey bees are appearing now, I missed them for a long time. Small black, yellow and white bumbles seem fairly prolific, but the general demise is clear.
Dave - thanks for the proofreading!
Nicole, polona, rabbits guy, noah, scot - thanks!
Nathan - that was part of what prompted this poem actually, I've just read a great book which I'll be reviewing here.
Bobb - you're right, that's why I added the link to Bumble Bee Conservation....
lucy - I know, its tragic
Great ending, left me thinking how long it will take before we have to engage in a dance to long to dance to get water for our garden...
I feel like the bees sometimes. Great ending to an interesting poem.
these dancing bees reminds me of the song "we're all in the dance". how beautiful, and how poignant. thank you for sharing his poem.
I can almost see the bees conversing and dancing...
I like the last line as a stand-alone line. This was wonderful to read.
I am so glad to learn this. The bees dancing is such a wonderful immage.
They're getting more than tired. What are we doing to them? If that doesn't worry people, look at their importance. What are we doing to us?
Lovely and thought-provoking. You might enjoy this article I came across recently - about bees learning each other's languages:
Just some constructive criticism: the first stanza isn't as tight as the latter stanzas. There might be some words to slice or rearrange. I love the last two lines!
fascinating--i love how your work integrates the natural world and science with your poetic images and impulses!
excellent piece highlighting the distressing situation with the loss of so many bees... i have to wonder then,, why is it my yard is full of the swarming little creatures... do you think it is because there is no cell reception in the canyon... i have to wonder......
It's got me thinking of other bee poems - such as Sylvia Plath's, and a wonderful poem by Linda Hogan ('Bees in Transit: Osage County) in the Bloodaxe ecopoetry anthology 'Earth Shattering'.
Susan - that's an anthology I keep meaning to buy, thanks for reminding me!
Mary - i know, its already a lot tighter than the first version was but it could be improved! Thanks
Anthony - I know, I didn't want to be too strident in the poem though and tiredness seemed to be the best way to go...
Lirone - I'll go and read that, there was an article in the Guardian newspaper about that recently too
never knew abt the bee dances before... as an organic gardener with flowers everywhere... bees, bumble bees are always around while im working... since hearing abt the quandry of bees and pollination it is a wonderful story told... i was always curious abt their feet and how they wipe them off as they enter the hive.. the dance makes me think of american indians and their ritual dances... we all have our own dance.. don't you think...
This is poignant and beautiful, both literally about the bees and as a metaphor for the increasing communication challenges every species must face (our own included) if we are to deal with and take action on a changing climate.
I enjoyed both the poem and photograph.
All the best Jan
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