restricted access The Burrowing Bees
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38 The Burrowing Bees I prize their wild and solitary charm Of being.They serve no queen, and thrive Without conforming to the ritual and swarm Of the industrious, honey-brewing hive. Two weeks ago, the patio gave birth To mounds of dirt where pavement cracked and lent A gritty opportunity to sound the earth. They took a sunny corner of cement Where heat starts early, lasting all the day. First five or six, now several dozen zip Around in admirable disorder; drones relay In restless idleness, while females slip Like rain into their rocky subdivision, Encrusted with the bullion of their toil, And, crouched among them, I rejoice in the precision With which they hang midair, dissolve in soil. They growl like dainty bullets, whipping, shooting About my feet. I shift to find a spot Less near their sandy rings, the funneled cells for brooding, Riddled beneath the fragrant bergamot. At last, the males, converging, take the floor, And, ravishing their mates in silvery blazes, Like frenzied tumbleweeds, they rollick, three and four, With heads and abdomens in teeming mazes. 39 Their progeny is their preoccupation; And time exists to see that life occurs In sequence: the crucial splicing of a generation, The fertile spring each larvaed heir ensures. At dusk, the cooling stones grow still again. The world depends upon the sleeping bees— Their chambered hymn, the last clear thought inside God’s brain— Accompanied by distant piano keys. ...


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