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Had first lovely experience of Bumble Bees in the sunshine, so thought I would share this one in celebration - though it is written about later in the year... Also a couple of quotes following re the ideas in the poem. Hope you enjoy!
‘Thus I can understand how a flower and a bee might slowly become, either simultaneously or one after the other, modified and adapted in the most perfect manner to each other.’ Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, 1859

‘…we have generally underestimated the degree to which other animals are capable of learning. Bumble bees, for instance, have been shown to learn a great deal from experience about how to gather nectar from different types of flowers. Trained on one kind, they are incompetent at another until they have had practice; but once they know how to deal with, say, monkshood, they are also better at dealing with similar-shaped flowers such as lousewort – thus proving that they have done more than memorise individual flowers, but have generalised some abstract principles.’ Matt Ridley, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

Bumble Bee Learning About Flowers

Gillian_ferguson_photo_high_resby Gillian K Ferguson20 May 2014

Bumping home on random kerbs of air,
through summer’s glutted, cloying light,
glistening, sticky with slow silver flies -

a fat Bumble Bee. Drunk on siren saliva,
sugar sucked from flower mouth tongues,
where he has plunged, entered endlessly -

struggling fur into trumpet tunnels; purses,
upturned umbrellas, pursed or pouting lips,
swollen felts and velvets of red wine roses.

Diving, swimming into long reluctant gloves -
persuading, squeezing into tight beginner buds.
Belly-flopping to slattern daisies, petals akimbo

as can be. But entering the austere white lily -
sexy nun-flower in a demure milk-wimple, her
virginal open throat, like the doors of a church.

Fumbling nectar addict - banded with gold
rings enough for every last flower, wedded
to his symbiotic, fertilising visit; mutual lust.

Adding vocabulary to his hourly sugar-need,
until evening closes shadowed throat-eyes -
flower ghosts hang droopy heads on emaciated

flagpole shoulders; hot green hinges creaking,
leaf-palm hands rise to finger crepuscular chill.
There is resting of overtime summer factories -

green chemicals of panting photosynthesis,
for the offspring of light and earth: beauty,
as principle of evolution for beguiling bees.

Now luminous, emanating moon-glow - dead
sunlight etherised by sweated fumes like saints
dazzled at night by their own haloes, holy stink.

Droning drunkenly with a slovenly buzz -
golden-snowed, his pollen burden bulging,
Bumble Bee hauls along; bouncing slowly

from hammock to electrified air hammock:
just clearing the aching pull of earth, sleep.
To return to the frantically gossiping hive -

fat furry duke, torpid with sugar liquor;
in waggling dance, circling sugar-maps,
tells his stories of a hundred days spent

corpulent, dizzy with perfume, sunshine,
puffing along on silly, illogical wings -
silver splinters whirring his rotund bulk;

wild among the androgynous flower sex.
Temptation, seduction; moist sugar-ooze.
Fur belly rubbing, dusting his gouty gold

bulbous thighs. Among drugging aureoles
of calculating scented breath; slow-learning
of pattern, system and repetition - mastering

symmetries of petal art. Remembering for
metamorphosis of gold light into honey -
more bees and flowers. Plump apostle of

summer’s presence: tiny disciple of sunlight.
How bitter our winter days, jutting fossilised
wing blades: featherless, magnetised to earth.

Anti-Midas, everything we touch is turning
to ash, as a broken poem haunts our heads,
reciting shining primaeval stanzas written

in the mud - blood; the crushed ink of stars.
While the weary bee, his endless good task
of fertilising the world done for another day,

sobers for summer evening’s final twilight labour.
His magic act, simple alchemy: converting nectar
into viscous gold - so mathematically chambered.

Understanding as perfectly as Einstein,
some pleasing, fantastic pattern present
in the elegant guts of the uncut Universe.

Engineering galaxies, orchestrating molecules.
Operating thoughts in Bee World, Hive Planet.
Calculating flowers: moving the sweet bee soul.