The bees are dying, in droves, you know.
I suppose it was inevitable,
what with global warming, climate change.
Eden no longer exists,
isn’t it obvious?
It’s been a long time
since we lived in harmony with life on this planet
and least of all, with the bees.
Remember them at the pond?
How we ducked under the water to avoid them?
It was the only thing to do;
brave the slime or risk being stung.
It was a good hiding place then,
but now, the bees are grounded, dying.
We should save them, but maybe it’s too late.
I wonder what will become of this place
of sludge and slime, without the bees?
I wonder what will become of us?
For NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 18 – The Prompt: Our prompt for the day (optional as always) isn’t exactly based in revision, but it’s not exactly not based in revision, either. It also sounds a bit more complicated than it is, so bear with me! First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.
I normally write my poetry on my phone or laptop these day, but for this prompt I found my favorite fountain pen and printed a copy of the poem so I could follow the directions precisely with a sheet of paper covering each line last to first (see the actual photo of my scribbling above). I used to write like this before computers were a thing. I used the poem by Anna Jackson below. While I let the title guide my thoughts, I made it a point not to read the poem before I started to write my version so I wouldn’t be swayed by the intent of the original. I think this helped me to respond to each line independently in my response. It was a really interesting exercise. I might have to try it again. 🙂
Bees, so many bees.
By Anna Jackson
After twenty years of marriage, we walked out
of the bush and on to a rough dirt road
we followed till we saw a pond
we might be able to get to.
The ground was boggy and buzzing.
The pond was thick with weed
and slime. It was not
the sort of pond anyone would
swim in, but we did — picking and sliding
into the water over the bog and bees,
bees we suddenly noticed were
everywhere, were settling on our hair
as we swam, ducks turning surprised eyes
our way. After twenty years of marriage
what is surprising isn’t really so much
the person you are with but to find
yourselves so out of place in this scene, cold
but not able to get out without
stepping over bees, so many bees.
Source: Poetry (February 2018)