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).

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26 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    These are beautiful, Leo – informative, atmospheric, and lovely.
    Very well done!

    • Leo Zoutewelle

      Thank you, Joe, I appreciate your thoughts a great deal!
      Happy New Year.

  2. Sally Cook

    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.

  3. Leo Zoutewelle

    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,

  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    All three poems are an absolute treat to read. I particularly like the educative, creative and superlative “Bees Are Spectacular”. Thank you.

  5. Leo Zoutewelle

    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!

    • Peter Hartley

      Yes Leo – very good and as always informative little verses. From one animal lover to another

  6. Leo Zoutewelle

    Thank you Peter, a lot; I appreciate your comment! Happy New Year!

  7. Nathaniel T McKee

    Thanks for the poems, Leo, if only biology textbooks could describe the habits as catchingly yet informatively as you just described your bees.

  8. Leo Zoutewelle

    You had a great comment, Nathaniel, thank you so much. I hope to keep things interesting, All the best in this new year!

  9. Mark F. Stone

    Leo, These are excellent poems. I especially like the last one. Mark

  10. David Watt

    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.

    • Leo Zoutewelle

      Hi David, I really liked and appreciated your Forrest Gump comment. Priceless!

  11. James Sale

    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.

    • Leo Zoutewelle

      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,

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Tell us about royal jelly. There’s a wonderful story by Roald Dahl about it.

  12. James Sale

    Thanks – happy new year to you – and perhaps another poem: always good to read about more mysterious facts about the wonderful bees!!!

  13. Anton Zoutewelle

    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.

  14. Leo Zoutewelle

    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.

  15. Gleb Zavlanov

    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

    • Leo Zoutewelle

      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!

  16. Angel L Villanueva

    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.

    • Leo Zoutewelle

      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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