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It struck me that the big bulky bumble-bees in the garden looked like rugby (Union) players in their striped shirts, with huge 'thighs' and black head protection caps! This was really fun to write - bees obviously came up quite a lot during the last year or two when I have been writing my new work, Flora', about the genetic connection between man and plants and flowers. I realise this is the second 'bee' poem i've posted on PoetryZoo already - people might think i'm obsessed with bees....

I dedicate it to bees, a species in real trouble, which we must save.

Rugby Bees

Gillian_ferguson_photo_high_resby Gillian K Ferguson04 Jul 2013

Beery-plump bees
in gold-banded, furry rugby shirts –

underarmour sleeves pulled shiny-tight
over bulging black muscles.

Under fuzzy guts,
squeezed into glossy jet shorts
hugging four enormous bulbous thighs.

Darth Vador skull-cap
strapped close as exoskeleton.

But sporting a ridiculous pair of stag-night,
teensy-weensy Tinkerbell wings, for a laugh -
desperately whirring, hauling their hulking bulk
improbably into reluctant air –

Dangling, precarious: their own cumbersome burden.
Lumbering, bobbing, bumbling, bumping.
Lurching recklessly along, in a wandering silver halo.
Droning a drunken baritone - out of tune.
Comedy flying, but with dignity;
like a portly old wedding uncle, waltzing.

Such humming industry. Just trying, trying –
defying disastrous raindrop drop goals.
Erratic wind-tosses. Thieving people feeding,
eyes on the stolen sweet prize.
Mauling wasps. Fluttering rucks of fussy butterflies,
addicted to the same body-pumping nectar.

For the overwhelming pleasure of the score!
Supping conversion of summer light
into floral sugar: recycled gold.
Loving the rough touch of pollen: male spores.

cunning ultra-violet tactics -
unseen by evening’s sleepy referee
in the blinding smear of sunset.
Instructions, illuminated maps,
invisibly graffitied on the very petals
of open-mouthed flower crowds -
where they bow and butt
in a solitary scrum.

But all playing for Bumble Bee Team;
selflessly supportive, hive brothers -
for the Gold Cup of Honey:
Country and Queen.