“He just wears a veil, this farmer, no gloves
and lifts open a dribbly wax-clogged
. . . I came to say, He
said, it’s nothing to
Be afraid of, death. It’s a place you go to rest.
I’d like to tell you that something happened then
– that there was an epiphany, that the bee
taught me something.
But it didn’t.
Blaw, blaw ye wastin winds, blaw soft
Among the leafy trees,
With gentle gale from hill and dale Bring hame
the laden bees.
This piece of amusing information rather than a poem begins by stating there are 76 distinct words of stinging, 39 words for queen, 22 for sunshine, and addressing the qualities of bee language before concluding “for it is eloquent and vulgar in the same mouth, and though its wound is sweet it can be distressing, as if words could not hurt or be meant to sting.”