Bees on bull thistle

bumblebees on thistle

I took this picture two weeks ago, right before sunrise — click to see the full-size version, as usual. The following poem is a good example of the sort of exercise I engage in to stay in practice, on days when inspiration utterly fails to strike.

Night stops them cold
where they cling
to the green thorax
of the mother of bumblebees,
that bed of nails.
They hang
lifeless but not dead,
sleepless but very far from waking
to the vast meadows that blaze
above their heads.

16 Comments


  1. This is a beautiful photo. Also a beautiful poem. It takes me places on many levels.

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  2. If this is waht you write on days you have no inspiration…! Wonderful words and photo.

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  3. Thanks. Actually, I am probably guilty of making too big a deal out of inspiration. Even when an original insight is lacking, an intense and focused attempt to find just the right words of description can evoke a kind of clarity. Perhaps that’s what happened here.

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  4. Well, also for you the wonder of the bumblebees sleeping, or whatever the hell it is they do at night, was back at the time of taking the picture, but for us it’s here now with the words.

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  5. Stunningly beautiful photo and poem, Dave. Our bees have been dreamily digging their way into the artichoke flowers. They emerge covered in pollen and nearly tipsy from the ecstasy of abundance. I never see them sleeping, but you make wish.

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  6. Dale – Good point.

    Mary Beth – ouch!

    mikaelah – Thanks — and welcome!

    robin andrea – I never grew artichokes (well, except for Jerusalem artichokes). I thought you were supposed to pick the buds before they bloomed — or is that only the second year?

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  7. Dave– We picked several artichokes to eat (they were quite yummy) but let a few go to flower because they are so pretty. The bees seem utterly intoxicated by them. They burrow down in there and stay for a long, long time.

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  8. What a wonderfully altruistic/aesthetic gesture! You are a true gardener, R.A.

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  9. Artichokes in flower are so pretty they’re actually sold at florists in London. It would be wonderful to be able to grow ones own. I love the dormant bees and life-ful words.

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  10. hahaha omg u wrote a poem like that about a couple of bees on a plant?!?! hahah ur too funny u guys have nothign better to do with ur life!!!!! hahhahahahahha hahahahahahhahahah a hhahahha LOSERS

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  11. right.. im gonna have 2 agree with lou lou… its bee’s?… k? point…. yea, none. GJ with the crappy focus 2, try n take more of the scenary… unless of course ur camera cant handle it. *cough cough.

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  12. I found the last two comments amusing. I guess you just keep them up there for comic relief?

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  13. More that that: as exhibits. These guys’ comments represent, I’m sure, a very common response to the kind of stuff I post here. It’s useful (if not necessarily pleasant) to be reminded of that once in a while.

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