"The Bee Friend" by Hans Thoma‘Bees Are Spectacular’ and Other Poetry by Leo Zoutewelle The Society January 2, 2020 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 26 Comments Bees Are Spectacular When people talk of “bees” it well could mean Two things: the sum of separate insects or A colony—some workers and a queen— A score of several thousand bees or more. In some important ways they are the same: Each single bee acts like its colony; The colony fulfills each single aim In pattern, preference and prosody. First off, note well, a strange and puzzling fact: The bee is basally mysterious. Its faculties in truth divinely packed— Spectacular, and always serious. A bee can mark a course like any plotter, As much as three miles on a single forage. While seeking pollen, nectar, also water; They use a hexagonal comb for storage. Bees are, as golden cooks of eminence, Producing royal jelly, lovely honey. As nurses they do work of excellence In raising larvae, flying when it’s sunny. Bees’ greatest attribute, perhaps, depends: They can be sociable if treated well. They learn to recognize those who are friends, Then they will let you visit where they dwell. That is to say, I think that bees have senses, While “instinct” is a term used by the timid— The ones who keep their thoughts behind defenses— But bees have thoughts and use them to the limit. The big point to be made though is the fact That bees are needed to cross-pollinate Our crops, to keep our food supply intact So that our meal intake be adequate. This is so meant to be a clarion call That bees are just essential for us all. Autumn in the Village The wind blew skittish raindrops in a flurry Pretending it was summoned to somewhere; The house wren shook its coat to look all furry: A winter’s chill was entering the air. The flowers were no longer fresh and pretty; The street musicians all were getting old. The barbers’ chitchats were no longer witty, The cluttered vacant lot at last was sold. By now, the solemn silence grew in measure; The local swimming pool was closed and locked. The sassy squirrels ran around with leisure, While knowing that their food supply was stocked. But then the clouds amassed in dark’ning grey And rudely chased the light of day away. Old Men Old men can sit and grimly stare ahead While they recall the zenith of their youth: When they were spotless, pure and very glad To get acquainted with some new-found truth. And so, one man did recollect with joy That his epiphany of bliss at twelve Was having beat the champion marbles boy, Which was, back then, a wondrous ego salve. But wait, this crafty kind of recall hurts: When it takes hold there is nowhere to hide; Regrets take over, aye; they come in spurts And melancholy’s maw is opened wide… So now I know what kind of grief they bear When old men simply sit and grimly stare. Leo Zoutewelle was born in 1935 in The Netherlands and was raised there until at age twenty he emigrated to the United States. After retiring in 2012 he has written an autobiography and two novels (unpublished). Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 26 Responses Joe Tessitore January 2, 2020 These are beautiful, Leo – informative, atmospheric, and lovely. Very well done! Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 2, 2020 Thank you, Joe, I appreciate your thoughts a great deal! Happy New Year. Leo Reply Sally Cook January 2, 2020 Dear Leo – You always have something to share in .every poem. I have not yet seen any poem of yours which was .meaningless, or trite. This in itself is a fine accomplishment. Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 2, 2020 Dear Sally, Thank you for commenting. Your thoughts always encourage me. That means a lot to me. Wishing you a blessed new year, Kind regards, Leo Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 2, 2020 All three poems are an absolute treat to read. I particularly like the educative, creative and superlative “Bees Are Spectacular”. Thank you. Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 2, 2020 Thank you for your compliments, Susan, yours went down like a glass of eggnog and I really appreciate them. All the best for the new year! Leo Reply Peter Hartley January 2, 2020 Yes Leo – very good and as always informative little verses. From one animal lover to another Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 2, 2020 Thank you Peter, a lot; I appreciate your comment! Happy New Year! Leo Reply Nathaniel T McKee January 2, 2020 Thanks for the poems, Leo, if only biology textbooks could describe the habits as catchingly yet informatively as you just described your bees. Reply Nathaniel T McKee January 2, 2020 *the habits of animals, that is Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 2, 2020 You had a great comment, Nathaniel, thank you so much. I hope to keep things interesting, All the best in this new year! Leo Reply Mark F. Stone January 2, 2020 Leo, These are excellent poems. I especially like the last one. Mark Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 3, 2020 Thank you, Mark, for your encouraging remark! Leo Reply David Watt January 3, 2020 Leo, like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, we never know which tasty morsels to expect within your assortment. The last poem was also my favorite, particularly for the concluding couplet. Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 3, 2020 Hi David, I really liked and appreciated your Forrest Gump comment. Priceless! Leo Reply James Sale January 3, 2020 Love the bee poem, for they are spectacular and this is a great reminder of how essential they are. To me the bees are signs of the wonder and power of God: that intense artistry that is in all creation, but is highlighted in the organisation and usefulness of bees particularly. Thanks Leo – excellent work. Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 3, 2020 Thank you, James, I concur with every word in your comment, and I want to also add that I was quite serious about bees being mysterious: there are lots of additional facts about bees that back that up but simply could not fit in the poem. Thanks again. Have a blessed new year, Leo Reply Joseph S. Salemi January 3, 2020 Tell us about royal jelly. There’s a wonderful story by Roald Dahl about it. James Sale January 3, 2020 Thanks – happy new year to you – and perhaps another poem: always good to read about more mysterious facts about the wonderful bees!!! Reply Anton Zoutewelle January 3, 2020 Dear Leo, The way you treat a common subject like “Autumn”, NOT by describing it, but in a persisting series of suggestive allusions, full of emotional meaning, makes this poem a real gem. Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 3, 2020 Thank you, Anton! Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 3, 2020 Joseph, I’m no expert but royal jelly is some sort of super intense food that the worker bees make to feed their queen; royal jelly is also fed to bee larvae (or three days) to help mature them into bees. After they become bees, worker bees then eat honey and what’s called “bee bread”. Eating royal jelly increases the size of the bee and enables her to perform other, queenly, duties. It takes 16 days for a queen to grow from a larva, 21 days for a worker bee. Many books have been written about the details pertaining to these matters. Leo Reply Gleb Zavlanov January 3, 2020 Dear Mr. Zoutewelle, Thank you for these poems. I loved the imagery in “Autumn in the Village.” It is very effective. I also liked the bee poem. A world without bees would indeed be a very scary world. Thank you for sharing. -Gleb Zavlanov Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 4, 2020 Hello Gleb, Thank you for sending me your thoughts on these poems, especially from someone young and enthusiastic about life and beauty. That is very encouraging to me! Thanks again! Leo Reply Angel L Villanueva January 4, 2020 Leo, I very much enjoyed reading these fine poems. The one on bees is quite educational. There is so much to learn about nature. And I love the sonnet on old men and its closing couplet. Nicely done. Reply Leo Zoutewelle January 5, 2020 Dear Angel, Thank you so much for your kind words; I’m glad you liked the poems. I am looking forward to reading some of yours! 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