Bee scouts dance, waggle and sway
point the way to scented patches:
peonies before the petals fall,
foxgloves bearded tongues,
which, shaded at wood’s edge
call like church bells, summoning
the faithful to partake, savor
sacred bread, drink the wine.
Worker bees encode the flight
path into their striped bodies,
yellow and black like the mask of King Tutankhamun.
Bee wings flap and oscillate, generate
small hurricanes to uplift them.
The long proboscis siphons nectar,
food for gods, which bees store
in honey sacs, just as chipmunks
store seeds to feed pups beneath the woodpile.
Just as Babylonian gods spit into clay
to create us, bees create seeds
to sustain us: with one swift stroke of their leg
yellow the sticky stigma with pollen
that tunnels to the soft ovary
seeds the plants and fruit we eat,
apples, cranberries, melons, squash
cucumber, zucchini and black-eyed peas.
The tears of the Sun God fell
to Earth, became bees to honey the world
Patricia Hemminger is a science and environmental writer and associate editor of Pollution A-Z published by Macmillan. She is working on a documentary about green chemistry solutions to environmental pollution. A graduate of Drew University’s Poetry MFA program her poems have appeared in Spillway, Parabola, Twyckenham Notes and other journals.