Bee suite [bitter honey

[This poem won the 2010 Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Prize and was first published in my chapbook On the Innocence of Clouds,Picaro Press Wagtail Series No. 104, 2010. The photo collage shows our apple blossoms in spring and some of their pollinators beside bees: flies and Australian native bees/wasps. For those interested in natural beekeeping I can recommend the Barefoot Beekeeper,, Bee Thinking and Immenfreude websites].

Bee suite [bitter honey

Our minds buzz like bees
but not the bees’ minds.
It’s just wings not heart
they say, moving to another flower.

– Jim Harrison, After Ikkyu and Other Poems No.1


Honey is sweet spit collected in a million
trips to the moon & back. Blue borage

moons whitely sexual lemon blossoms
laid out like Manet’s Olympia

or lassoed lowly clover we threaded
into childhood’s chains on Palmer Street.


Sylvia parked the ute, puffed up a cloud
of pine needle & cow shit in her smoker

& off we went, me trailing in my bright
new veil, trembling virginal apiarist.

A few more puffs, the top’s off.
An altar of quivering bees pours out

its electric golden light. These
are not separate.


To approach the beehive without fear,
make your mind into one.

Like mother or queen bee mind,
your emptiness must contain

the golden swarm of neurons
that sync into nectar, pollen, honey

shimmer like vibrating leaves of yellow
light pulsing energy into one voice

buzzing on the reciprocal waves
of their sundry moods. Listen closely.

Slow your buzzing thoughts down-
wards into your navel, hands

gently lifting each frame
weighted with a different promise.

Inspect with quiet disinterest,
subdued greed honeyed with tact

despite the odd crushed bee
around gluey rims & joins,

the dallying clusters ignoring
all your soft & toxic exhalations.


gassed, burned
my cankered bees

now eucalypts bloom


on the ocean wastes
of their orchards, fields

they found the boats empty
food still on the table

brood intact, an eerie
foreboding listing with

silent summer, the compass
needle spinning slowly

home suddenly a receding
coastline of unfathomable loss


~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on July 2, 2011.

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