The Honeybees’ Hymn
A muggy morning. The calm after the storm.
We will soon hear the buzzing of the swarm.
The last time the comb was this calm these bees
were generations off, the floorboards still trees.
We thought we might have robber bees, that maybe
when they left, we could patch up the hole in the siding.
But now that the rain has passed,
the comb is back to work on three days’ rest.
The rain has taught us the origin of the stain on the garage ceiling.
Feeling for a leak, our fingers become sticky with honey drippings.
If I put my ear to the floor
under the upstairs window
I can hear their collective buzzing,
a steady hum, the honeybees’ hymn.
Treading water in the Irish Sea, I feel the tide shifting;
the tug and pull of sea and shore at my extremities.
When I die I will go, willingly,
into the fire. Take my ashes and bury me
in delicate, masculine water.
Let me float down the brook I walked as a boy,
searching for beaver dams,
take my body back to where it all began.
Let my wife and son read the poems I have written,
keeping them like bottled memories.
Let us live together in them for as long as we can,
cheating time and staying together as long as we can.
Empty my body of ash into the stream. Let me enter this planet again.
Surrounded by loved ones and water: alone, naked and afraid.
The phrase “delicate, masculine water” is from Frank McGuinness’s poem, “Joe Chadwick, Koli Koli Pass, Hawaii, 8 April 1992”.
Brandon McQuade is the Poetry Editor at Montréal Writes. His poems have been published by BlazeVOX, College Green, Vita Brevis, Rust + Moth, Literary Yard, Elm + Ampersand, Scarlet Leaf Review, Montréal Writes, The Kindling Journal and Voices de la Luna. His debut poetry collection, Bleeding Heart, was recently published by Kelsay Books (Feb. 2021) and is now available on Amazon. He lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with his wife, Jacqlyn and their son, Nolan.