Please Explain How Flowers Are Essential

Each year perhaps there is at least one
new thing to learn, even if in the manner

of an error. The ways of the world are mysterious
but not to the honeybee who is wiser by far

than the so-called intelligence that decrees
what is or is not essential to the industry

of golf courses and corporations. Once I bought
a bouquet of stargazer lilies, sunflowers,

asters, baby’s breath for a writer who came
with stories to share in our speakers’ series—

When I turned in my reimbursement receipts,
I received a memo: Please explain how flowers

are essential to the mission of the university.
Of course I was flabbergasted. But the bees

could have told me. I should have listened
closer to the alarms in the hive, the soft

crumbling of door upon golden door as they left,
the dusky odor of sweetness now nearly forgotten.


In response to Via Negativa: How to Tell the Woodpeckers.

1 Comment

  1. A melliferous (and mellifluous) poem.

    One of my favorite places in the whole wide world is a small room (only one or two people may occupy it at a time) in D.C.’s Phillips Collection made of beeswax. The “dusky odor of sweetness” is the best way to describe the wonderful smell. Here’s a link about the room:


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