yellow bumblebee gathering pollen close up photography
In late spring on Tivy Mountain
I caught sight of a solitary bee.
A straggler to the buds of late blooming flowers,                                                                                                             Red daisies, a snapdragon’s yellow universe.                                                                                                   Flower crowns nod, and nod again.                                                                                                                  

Guests of the flower, blue-collar
Souls of Nymphs that once served Zeus,
Fed him milk from Amalthea---
And honey---the essence of life.  
Bees devour the nectar
From the pollinating flowers,
The flowers thank the Bees
And pay them in pollen. 

A Queen, 
To a colony of thousands, 
And a few hundred worker drones 
In a division of labor.
The sacred bee-workers droning
An ecstatic trance.

A honeycomb, 
Wax hexagonal cells 
Secreted by the working-class,
To store honey and pollen,
House the eggs, and larvae. 

The life of the bee-family:
Pollinating the nearby crops,
Producing honey, and procreation. 

The sun, a preferred compass 
Under cloudy skies or dark beehives,                                                                                                                                                                                              
Uses the earth's magnetic field                                                                                                                                                                 
With their gift for prophesy, 
Navigation relies on spatial memory.

Intelligent beings, they are,
Rational, and industrious. 
Not to stand idly by 
With listless indifference.
A solitary and social species,
Closely related to the ant.                                                                    

Lying on a grassy fold 
Under a Valley Oak tree                                                                    On the side of a mountain,
The day is honey-colored.
The sun, a marigold flower.

I watch the sacred insect
Gently touch upon a leaf
As if to catch its breath
Before resuming work.     

Watch and wait,
As the creature who flies
Busy and purposeful,
Surveys the area in a figure-eight,                                                   Taking its bearings, in search 
Of the blossom’s hidden store.

Kill time while the bees                                          
Return to feed again, 
Become heavy, molasses laden, 
And slow flying.                                                                          For the airborne stream,                                                              On the pheromone trail 
Orient themselves,                                                                                Deposit the rich fluid,                                                     The sweet cargo. 
Returning in a fast wing-beat,                                                                            
Genuflecting to the pure 
Mother Bee with gifts of love. 

Poem by Stephen Barile

Stephen Barile, a Fresno, California native, educated in the public schools, attended Fresno City College, Fresno Pacific University, and California State University, Fresno. His poems have appeared in numerous publications, in both print and on-line. Stephen Barile taught writing at Madera College, and CSU Fresno. He lives in Fresno, CA.