Here are my bees, gold blurs on paper, besotted; buzzwords dancing their flawless airy maps.
Been deep, my poet bees, in the parts of flowers, in daffodil, thistle, rose, even the golden lotus; so glide, gilded with talent, thus-
wise-and know of us: how your scent pervades my shadowed, busy heart, and honey is art.
‘Honey is art’ declares Carol Ann Duffy in his first poem of her new collection, The Bees. Only the other day, Aldi sold me a pot of manuka honey 10+ for a record £3-99 whilst Morrisons I noticed yesterday had new range of New Zealand bio active honey! A Sunday paper told me on the weekend that such honey could take 10 years off my face when applied like cream. Thyme for time!
Honey it seems is all the rage.
Ecologically we dance on a disastrous precipice of our own making, and it seems very much a concern of Carol Ann Duffy to embrace the zeitgeist and to explore the fragility of our planet’s natural balance.
The Bees is collection of poems with a far wider focus than Duffy’s very intimate last collection Rapture, a collection intimately involved with the euphoria and subsquent distintegration of a romantic relationship.
Perhaps one reason I prefer The Bees is that love affairs from the outside may be less than entertaining to read about. And without the dailiness and the routines that seem to occupy most of us for so many moments of our lives, then Rapture’s pastoral loving does seem too removed and idealistic to be sustained. Probably why supermarkets with kids are such good places for testing patience.
The new collection has some really powerful poems within it , poems that are pleasingly far more ‘gritty’ than Rapture, and these I will discuss over the next few days.
I do like the final line of this poem, ‘The Bess’. ‘Honey’ after all is such a sensory experience. As it works in terms of being both a metaphor and a literal experience, it anchors us to so many ‘meetings’ in our lived life, some more private than others perhaps. This ‘flower’ is followed by that flower, colours and scents contrast and challenge one another. We go ‘deep’ in this experience, we visit ‘both thistle’ and ‘golden lotus’. It is the poet’s versatility that creates art from difference- and if Wordsworth was right, then aren’t we all poets too?
Thus, as the bee pollinates and cross pollinates, so one experience feeds into another, feeds off another, expanding our understanding and ‘taste’ for life. This ’anxiety of influence’ ( Harold Bloom) creates such a rich variety of honey- and such scents that new life is created.
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