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Being [Aug. 22nd, 2010|11:58 pm]
A dying bumble bee was between my two stacked laundry baskets. I lifted the top one and there it was, a dark and intricate wriggling thing on smooth white plastic. It made no buzz. There's no telling why it went there. Maybe some instinct to find a narrow, nest-like place reminiscent of its first home. But it was alone in the basket, no hive-buzz to accompany its final hours. I needed to use the basket, and a plastic container in a garage is no place for a bee to die anyway. Bumble bees nest underground, so I took the basket to the end of the row of sourgrass, where there's a hole left by a vanished mole or gopher.

Tipping the basket, I let the bee slide out through one of the side openings and onto the ground next to the hole. Its wriggling was barely visible in the dusk. I could have smashed it and put it out of its misery, but I don't know that a bee's death dance is in fact miserable. Perhaps it is full of delightful hymenopteran fancies. So I left the dying bee there on the warm, familiar soil, surrounded by tufts of sourgrass. I won't water the sourgrass tonight, and I'll leave the porch light off. Only the light of the nearly-full moon will illuminate the bee's passing.

Sunday Verse


by Carl Phillips

Trapped bee at the glass.

A window.

Instinct is different from
to understand.

Is not the same.

The window is not the light
it fills with— has
been filling with—

What the bee ascends to.

Is full with.

To ascend.
To have been foiled.
To be consistent.

Instinct making
its own equations.

The window is not, for the bee, a window.

Is a form of resistance

not understood
because not understandable,
not in terms

of reason.
A felt force.

A force entirely:

And I said Yes. That it
had been

like that. Resistance
at first, the light— And then resistance

as only one of the light's more difficult

and defining features.


[User Picture]From: changeling72
2010-08-23 07:57 am (UTC)
What a lovely thing to do. You make the bee's death something malancholy, yet beautiful.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: daisydumont
2010-08-23 02:32 pm (UTC)
that's such a sad thing. yesterday at breakfast, there was a dying cricket belly-up on the window ledge just behind me. like you, i thought of ending it quickly instead of letting it lie there and twitch as i drank coffee. but i can't kill things, and i figured it would go the way crickets go. i did write a little sad poem about mortality, though, which i won't burden you with.

i like your leaving the porch light off.
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