Sitting with bees,
Irrepressible energy hums like the sun
Poured into Spring’s burgeoning blossoming.
Honeyed sweetness is gathered in quickness,
It’s been cold for them now.
Many have drowned in a late April hail,
And each day they drop out their dead
To the doorstep.
I am stunned by their matter-of-factness expressing
That everyday change in their numbers must happen,
For how could renewal occur without shedding what’s been?
How then could this hive live through winter to spring
Were she not to let die almost all of her daughters
Retaining a core in a cluster that warms itself
Torpidly burning the honey of summer?
Let new brood in spring find more means to survive
By letting the old and their ways fall aside!
And how can I not be but grateful that things work this way?
For if not I’ld not be here, no thinking of thoughts,
No hand to write words had not eons of forebears
Passed to make way for the fresh life that may find its way
To continue discovering new ways to be,
No heart then to break as I see my own place
In this dying so that Life may continue to bloom
When I think of departing from all of this sweetness,
The pain of this passing particular loss —
Of elders and friends, now gone as reminders
That I’ll be up soon as swift Time takes us on.
Rob Duisberg is a composer and beekeeper in Seattle. He is retired from a working life in software, artificial intelligence in particular. So he came to beekeeping not for the honey, but to be in the presence of these astounding distributed intelligences. But what to do with all the honey? He has therefore also taken up brewing, and produces a fine cider with local apples, hops and honey.