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Epitaph for a Bee

It's interesting how much a dying insect can inspire

A blade of grass bends under
a bee's last landing
Wings beat one more useful beat
and the sky is exactly one bee
Its legs touch the grass as
it wonders why polination
was so important as to be its
life's work
the wings beat another thousand times
as the bee tries to
foil destiny
and fly away on air that can no longer hold it
The legs
touched as many flowers
as there are facets
in the bee's dying eyes
but cannot bend as much as they
once could
One thousand wingbeats more
compressed into a half-second
as if fending off the persistent fingers
of fate
Faded yellow and black alternate
flash defiantly
against the end that
must come
as it remembers spreading
this very field with color
The flowers of the field bend
toward the sunlight
ignoring the contribution of countless
winged messengers
who make flowers and fruit possible
one nears death in their midst,
one thousand whispers,
and the field's buzz diminishes

19 Nov 05

Rated 8.2 (8) by 11 users.
Active (11): 1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (9): 2, 3, 7, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10

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Just one thought about the last two lines:
minus a thousand more wing beats
the field's buzz diminishes.
 — Cloudless

Good idea...changed.
Much appreciated.
 — phyridean

Out of interest, what were the original last two lines?
 — unknown

"A thousand more wingbeats
and the field's buzz diminishes"
 — phyridean

Incredible. INCREDIBLE!

I have a fascination with bees.  They're quite thought provoking.
 — Estrella

Thanks for posting the original last two lines.
As things stand L37 is clunky with the 'minus' and is certainly no improvement on the original which I agree could be improved.

I think it's always advisable NOT to change your poem on the advice of one poster no matter WHO they are.  Best let things simmer for a while and await a few more comments before making any changes.
 — unknown

Hehe, I can always change back...
 — phyridean

L1 take out small. You're adding too much.

For rhymthmic purposes have  you considered ending L1 by under?

L15 through 23 are a bit confusing for me. Just the way that you've placed the words, makes it  a bit harder to read.

L25 take out the but. and you have an incredible stanza.

Lovely ending.

I like this, better than the last. You've improved. Nice.

 — Gabriella

could be shorter. i'm not sure if this an epitah
 — unknown

@Gabriella, thank you for the suggestions, and I'm glad you think that my poetry has improved (that's the idea, I think ;) ). I'll look at changing the poem, and repost sometime soon.

@Unknown, I generally go by the idea that an epitaph is simply a memorial, which is suggested by http://www .poetry-online.org/poetry-terms.htm If you have any suggestions on how to shorten the poem, please post them
 — phyridean

This is one very excellent poem ,like an ode to the delicate fabric of nature where every interlocking piece plays its part.
 — larrylark

Nice subject matter, overall I like this. On first read these are my initial thoughts:

No punctuation?

L3 - would you consider swapping ‘beat their’ with ‘vainly pulse’ – using beat twice in consecutive sentences made me stumble.
L22 -‘fighting’ to fend off ….
L30  - and looking down ‘on it’ ….
L34 – winged ‘inseminators’
L35 – ‘as’ one….
L36 ‘and’ minus…
L37 delete ‘and’ – the field….

I’m going to read this over a few more times… nice work
 — hobby

This poem is so enchanting. It drew me in and I loved it. It's so cute to think about a bee this deeply. I'll never think of bees the same again!
 — winter

the first stanza is my favourite, by far.
 — shakeit

I think if you left 1-14, it would be just as perfect.  This is lovely but after line 14, it feels like repetition.  What a clever and poignant poem about a very necessary creature.
 — Isabelle5

I was never a fan of this
 — unknown

Definitely unique and unique is always good.
 — Jsmiles05

Finally modified!
Thanks to everyone who made suggestions (I've used many of them, and if it appears that I haven't, then your suggestions showed me where revision was needed), and thanks to everyone who complimented it (who made me think it was worth revision).

What do you think now?
 — phyridean

No comments on the revision? *sniff*
 — phyridean

I still think 1-13 would be complete.  The rest is just honey on the toast.
 — Isabelle5

I LIKE honey on toast! ;)

I rather like some of the other images that the lines after 13 bring in. Any suggestions on consolidating them?
 — phyridean

Wow, that's beautiful. I had tried to write about a dying insect, like yourself, but I could never perceive the word-chosen imagery I read before me now. Completely adore lines 4-5 (10)
 — FrayedSkirt

The situation of the dying bee is a serious one.

Obviously, the author has not concerned the writing with the extremely serious decimation of the European and American honeybee population, where up to fifty per cent of current bee stocks have been lost due to infestation by the South Asian Mite.

This represents a horrendous problem for the vast majority of fruit growers who depend entirely on the honeybee for the pollination of their crops.
If man cannot find a solution to this virulent and seemingly unstoppable epidemic of death, nature’s flowers may indeed look helplessly at the Sun, as their futures dip their heads to the disasters pending.

 — Mor

Thank you, FrayedSkirt

Mor, it's always been my understanding that poetry is supposed to use specific events to draw attention to a broad issue, without having to refer to the issue itself. Perhaps I am not myself writing about the honeybee population problem, but that it related to that for you is a great compliment.
 — phyridean

This is amazing, I love the imagery in this poem, I read whaere you were advised to make changes, such as taking out small words and that has helped me in turn. I would never have thought to write about an insect dying but reading this put clear images there for me, I was held by this poem..
L35-37 just don't quite do it for me that though. I prefer
"a thousand wingbeats
and the field's buzz diminshes".
Fantastic poem.
 — marieF

  The poem is stagering the end perfect - i like poems that end with an ending word like - stop - fade - diminishes etc... lovely
 — hopeStreet

the idea is good. the writing is v  average.
 — unknown

didnt fell like readin the whole thing
 — unknown

 — unknown

You lot do talk some shit some times dont you? The dying insect is not such a good muse if this is what it creates. Seriously you should ask not to be put on day release.
 — Barnabee

Bugs Life?
 — unknown

Hello lovely, nice poem.
 — Meep

just not my style.  however it has some good lines
 — unknown

This is art. bravo
 — Trish77

It's also interesting how much a dying insect can fail to inspire
 — unknown

A better epithath for a bee has never been written. good work.
 — katt

Very crisp; however, I could do without the same words. Bee, bee, beat, beat.

However, something different, and that is *good*.


 — unknown

Lose lines 12, 22 and 23. When you bring fate and destiny in here, you overstate the poem. maybe make line 11 and 12 read "as the bee tries to fly away on air that can no longer hold it". Line break where you please. Just lose 21-23 altogether, and the poem is far more powerful. The rest is fairly good.
 — Doulos

I wrote one about a dying ant. But I killed him. Ha.
 — Doulos

There's a metaphor hiding in here somewhere. But bees wondering about pollination? Imagery is pleasing.
 — unknown

nice to read original content. i don't think i've ever read a poem following a bee's last few moments. the only thing i might change would be the "as if" in line 22. maybe "attempt to fend" would be a better replacement, and in that way would also wrap around the thought from line 21, so the full thought would read,

One thousand wingbeats more  20
compressed into a half-second  21
attempt to fend off the persistent fingers  22
of fate 23

exertion might also work.

wonderful write.
 — SteelAngel

that was sick but it was great i loved it like many other love u all nicole qld
 — unknown

a bee mistook me for a flower.

and stole my virginity.

this poem is armpit.
 — bologna