Tuesday 7 June 2011


by Mary Oliver

What is this dark hum among the roses?
The bees have gone simple, sipping,
that's all. What did you expect? Sophistication?
They're small creatures and they are
filling their bodies with sweetness, how could they not
moan in happiness? The little
worker bee lives, I have read, about three weeks.
Is that long? Long enough, I suppose, to understand
that life is a blessing. I have found them-haven't you?—
stopped in the very cups of the flowers, their wings
a little tattered-so much flying about, to the hive,
then out into the world, then back, and perhaps dancing,
should the task be to be a scout-sweet, dancing bee.
I think there isn't anything in this world I don't
admire. If there is, I don't know what it is. I
haven't met it yet. Nor expect to. The bee is small,
and since I wear glasses, so I can see the traffic and
read books, I have to
take them off and bend close to study and
understand what is happening. It's not hard, it's in fact
as instructive as anything I have ever studied. Plus, too,
it's love almost too fierce to endure, the bee
nuzzling like that into the blouse
of the rose. And the fragrance, and the honey, and of course
the sun, the purely pure sun, shining, all the while, over
all of us. 


  1. Hello Lucille:
    What a delightful summery poem, which captures the fascination of bees, something with which we can certainly identify.

    At times when we had a garden, towards the end of the summer when evenings would draw in and become rather chilly, bees could sometimes be stranded on flowers, seemingly lacking the energy to fly home. Blowing on them gently with warm breath would galvanise them into buzzing action and off then they would go.

    The pictures of Rosa Mundi[?]look very pretty.

  2. How I love bees. Your Rose is beautiful.

  3. they've been busy dining here as well ...

  4. Next time I see tired bees struggling in the cool evening I will blow warm breath on them, too.