Tuesday, June 24, 2014

With a Buzz of Gold

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento

BEE STUNG       

all the bees are golden
for they make honey
and it is summer
and the fine hair on my arm
is as gold as they are
raised as it is
between my eyes and the buzzing.
the bee has not stung me this year
though I have gone where it goes
among the vegetables and the flowers
when the days were as heavy as honey.
all my fear of the bees is still there
for they make a dark and constant sound
where I am standing
and I flinch when I should hold still
and my hand wants to slap
at my knowledge of them.
I still go among
the vegetables and the flowers
which are mine for I put them there
with my plans and hunger when it
was winter or at least cold spring
and I did not remember
the bee or the honey or the stinging.
it is an old fear anyhow
dark as childhood
and it has been forgiven
that I stood naked in the sun
in the woods of summer
loving my life
then stung to crying
by a bee that died upon me.

(first pub. in Permafrost, 1980)



Life’s confusions.
Its insults and injuries.
Its honey.

I loved
a bee-man once.
But I was afraid of
his bees . . .
oh he would cover himself
with them
and stand in the
sunlight humming . . .
at night
I would pull out stings
from his words,
his suffered love,
his golden injuries.


The Bee Man strokes the swarm
with  his golden hands.
See how soft they are, he says
to the clustered children
who, inch by inch, move closer
to believe their eyes . . .

a man who touches bees . . .

at dusk
they’ve filled the box
that he placed beneath the swarm
with bait of honey-smear
to start them in,
and he carries the new hive home
on his humming shoulders.

(first pub. in Poet News, 1989)



I did not kill the Bee said the flower
I did not kill the Bee said the
     housewife afraid of bees
I did not kill the Bee said the
     advertisement for pesticides

But the Bee goes from blossom to blossom
     for the poisoned pollen
His golden legs are shining in the sun
His heavy life is falling
I did not kill the Bee said everyone

(first pub. in Watching From The Sky, 
Piñon Pine Press, 1988
Edited by Ann Menebroker and
Martha Ann Blackman
© 1988 Menebroker and Blackman)



I am the black honey for your soul
sticky and sweet
I have been brought
by old bees
that died long ago

I came from all source
in tiny portions
until I was here

you taste me
crave me
smear me all over yourself
with starving words and motions

we are bread and honey
oozing over edges

(first pub. in Berkeley Poets Cooperative/11, 1997)


He is pulling away now
from the mother force.

In the diminishing center
she stares out at him.

Their minds pass
twice in time.

There is a frail echo
of sadness in the air.

Words become weary between them,
even as

their endless continuation of eyes
from the long conversation.

    *    *    *

In the monogrammed

her sheer gray roses
flounder on the stem;

the crocheted pieces under them
die thread by thread.

Outside, in the flowered yard,
old perfumes rise.

Far back
where she can’t fear them

bee hives in the tenant distance
wait for the bees.



my old neighbor buys
eggs from me—we always share
one slow glass of wine
dancing—out there—those
midnight scarecrows—who by day
sleep among the crows
with a buzz of gold
bees turn sunlight to honey—
life is generous

(first pub. in The Poet's Guild, 1995)


Today's LittleNip:


in a cloud of sleepiness
a poem occurred to me
and stung me fully awake
with a strange word
not of my vocabulary . . .

it urged me to
follow a trail of thinking
not my own. I was curious.
I was slow. I had to let
the illusory poem go . . .


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poems and pix. Our new Seed of the Week is Payday; I'm sure you must have something to say about that, either in poetry, photos, or artwork—though you're always encouraged to think metaphorically, of course. Send it all to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. No deadline on SOWs.