As I was getting changed to go to the poetry gig at the Fox & Hounds, the phone rang. It was a swarm call. As it was about 6.30 I assumed they would stay there until morning and I hope to get them then if I can get up early enough!
I went to the pub and Annie Freud, our Leaderine, allocated me a slot in the first half and told me I could do 3 poems. The middle one, which was bee related seems, from later feedback, to have been best received. I produced a natural comb to pass around the audience so they could appreciate what I was talking about. Here’s the poem:
A cohort of the little people
clusters together to form a cell;
not just one but many, to form a wall,
a home, a larder, a nursery.
They have no tools but their own bodies,
the sweat of which provides the clay for bricks and mortar.
They have no guidance but their own: no architect, no foreman.
The weight of their own bodies, holding hands,
provides the plumb line
so they can build vertical and true.
The cell base is three adjacent trapezoids:
one hundred and twenty degrees by sixty.
Slightly bowed, it also forms the base of three cells
offset on the far side of the wall.
Three trapezoids form a hexagon;
a shape much loved by nature,
repeated on a larger scale
at the Giant’s Causeway.
The cell walls run straight and true,
but offset at an angle sloping up,
so that the contents do not spill.
How large? They must decide what size.
They did this long before the metre was invented!
Five to the inch for workers;
Four to the inch for drones,
as they have done for fifty million years,
as fossils prove.