Bee Lines


Miniature motor, mellifluous drone, as I doze in my deckchair knowing I’m not alone,
On a bee-balmy indolent May afternoon, it comforts me to know you’re going nowhere too soon,
Contented customer, shopping bags in your legs, spot a pot plant, inspect her, drain nectar to its dregs,
Consummate connoisseur of each genus of flower, exquisite vector of nectar-collecting power.
Benign and benevolent – though you once seemed malevolent – As a child, a bit wild, you were painfully relevant,
It properly knocked me you could do such a thing – you shocked me and mocked me with the stab of that sting,
And it took quite some time for my view of you to mend, to see you not as a purveyor of crime – but a friend,
So now as you mosey from flower pot to plant, you seem more like a miniature uncle or aunt,
Not a demon demented, spitfire from the skies, but companion contented, humble and wise,
You murmur and grumble as you amble not stumble, I’ve long learned to love you Mr Bee-busy Bumble,
With your somnolent drone and your striped dapper coat, but I’m worried, I am – what will keep you afloat.

Bumble bee I’m amazed at your qualities and skills, I can’t do what you do, even on pills,
Your exceptional mysterious powers of navigation, are up there with our feathered friends skills at migration,
You emit subtle chemicals, can’t be overlooked – a hornet can find itself surrounded and cooked,
We’d be wowed to see you guys in a crowd – you can dance! Though we don’t understand what it feels like, maybe trance?
You perform all these feats through your instincts sublime, To understand you’s a treat, to ignore you’s a crime,
And we are like Spidey, with power and responsibility, to defend and protect your amazing ability…
One way to make hay and your plight less alarming, is not stew but review the whole way we do farming,
Not think “it’s hopeless” and be passive and pensive, but find ways to use less sprays, make the gig less intensive,
And learn from the bee, cos it’s humble and lowly, reminds us of patience, to wait, go more slowly,
Not be so in thrall to production of food, nor be quite so helplessly to bad habits glued,
Make space for more orchards and meadows and flowers, create hope, give bees scope for their ingenious powers.

And solid-set or runny, face it, lots of us like honey; so don’t be typical, choose ethical, don’t keep it hypothetical,
It’s consumer spending – and it could soon be trending.
And show some propriety, pick a home grown variety, in this way we can all help preserve bee society,
Cos as far as I see the best thing for the bee is we treat it just like we’d treat you or treat me,
For the swarm in the hive helps to keep us alive – and here is the rub, a full third of our grub,
Depends on our friends and their sweet pollination, remember that if they cause you any grief or frustration.
Well my poem is done, been a whole lot of fun, I could talk bees all day but I’d best get some sun,
So let’s do our part – keep them close to our heart, Help them prosper, live long, and grow numerous and strong.
Cos a happy bee’s a happy me, and I think we’ll agree, there’s nothing quite like scones and honey for tea.

For World Bee Day – 20th May 2019.

Voice audio – full version, & 3 individual ones:

Peace of my mind

girl-2754233_1920I was surfing the web – seeking stress release,
I saw it’s the ‘International Day of Living Together in Peace’.
What a brilliant idea I thought, exactly what we need,
In a world often blighted by violence and greed;
But then I realise a bit queasily this prize ain’t won easily,
And often when we talk about peace, we do it cheesily,
Make it vague, a kind of plague of platitude and trope,
Is there a better way to say – and chase peace with zeal and hope?
I think it starts with each of us, maybe a simple action,
A smile, a kind word, seems absurd – but could gain traction,
It helps overall, to start small, with family, friend,
Your first step might be just not to send them round the bend!
Once you start, find your heart moving in the right direction,
Start to show it, before you know it, it spreads just like convection,
So give a cheer, a listening ear, pursue mutual understanding,
Not the rant you might plant on your flatmate on the landing.
The whole thrust is mutual trust building bridges and community,
Erecting barriers against hate, a kind of ‘heart immunity’,
And I really hope today, no matter what’s the weather,
Will be a day we all learn how to live in peace together.

Short poems:

I used to cling onto my interests,
I’d fight with my might to defend,
Then I learned to let go, and it’s clear now, I know
It’s the way to turn enemy to friend.

You oppressors, the captives release,
You warmongers, your violence cease,
And find a fresh way this International Day
Of Living Together in Peace.

Voice audio of longer poem:

Strictly for the Birds

Geese in formation, flying nation to nation,
Across desert and crater, global navigator.
In thrall to nature’s mysterious laws, following intercontinental corridors.
Marking sun in the daytime and stars in the night, internal, intricate map of the flight,
Strangely attuned to the magnetic field, preternatural powers these voyagers wield.

I am in awe of such aerial magicians, with their mind-boggling talent for mapping positions,
A superior global positioning system, crossing cities and seas, but blink and you missed ‘em.
Harriers cross barriers, and the elegant crane, flies with its fellows in an optimum lane.

And us humans?
“Gotta fly” I say, metaphorically speaking, but do I ever spy the damage I’m wreaking?
Urban commuter, planet polluter, Lorry and 4×4, taxi and scooter.
Urbanite lifestyle, in some ways fantastic – but what of my ways with the perils of plastic?
What I throw away, can I start to connect, with the bird (seems absurd) who may wish to inspect?
That piece of detritus I throw over my back, could be taken, mistaken for a colourful snack.
What I blithely acquire as container or filler – is potentially a sinister avian killer.

I buy what I want and I do as I please, with no thought what I bought could end up in the seas,
So instead let me see it as pleasure and duty, to survey the array of wild avian beauty,
Serve and preserve and rise up to defend, from the least to the greatest, each fleet feathered friend.

For World Migratory Bird Day 11-5-19, for BBC local radio