God gave the honeybee six weeks
five hundred miles
in short refrains
to windy, white clover fields
to pink and proper rose gardens
gathering nectar in that careful needle
taking no time for self-pity, though
her life’s work, together
with that of eleven sisters
was the teaspoon of honey
I just stirred into my tea.
Sometimes she stops to walk
on my sunflowers,
her sturdy legs grow heavy
as she fills her pollen-baskets
with food for the bees back home,
but I like to think her stroll
on those upturned yellow faces,
is more for the joy of making me wonder
what I know of happiness.
This poem first appeared in the Wisconsin Poets' Calendar.
Used here with the author's permission.