Here Chana Bloch Anything even the black satin road where it catches the streaked oils of stoplights as I drive home alone from the hospital rain pocking the windshield tires slicing the pooled water to a spume taller than the car. Even that patch where the road fell in, rutted as a face, even that cries out: Look at me don’t turn away, admit the ravage is beautiful. The world insists: I was here before you and your pain, I am here and I will outlast you. Yes, says the mind stroking itself into life again as a body, taking what comfort it can.

from Mrs. Dumpty, an astounding collection of poems about the end of Bloch’s marriage, about how love is born and how it dies.


The Fabric of Life

The Fabric of Life
by Kay Ryan

It is very stretchy.
We know that, even if
many details remain
sketchy. It is complexly
woven. That much too
has pretty well been
proven. We are loath
to continue our lessons
which consist of slaps
as sharp and dispersed
as bee stings from
a smashed nest
when any strand snaps—

hurts working far past
the locus of rupture,
attacking threads
far beyond anything
we would have said

Bee! I’m expecting you!

Bee! I’m expecting you!
Emily Dickinson


Bee! I’m expecting you!
Was saying Yesterday
To Somebody you know
That you were due—

The Frogs got Home last Week—
Are settled, and at work—
Birds, mostly back—
The Clover warm and thick—

You’ll get my Letter by
The seventeenth; Reply
Or better, be with me—
Yours, Fly.

The murmur of a bee

The Murmur of a Bee
Emily Dickinson


The Murmur of a Bee
A Witchcraft—yieldeth me—
If any ask me why—
’Twere easier to die—
Than tell—

The Red upon the Hill
Taketh away my will—
If anybody sneer—
Take care—for God is here—
That’s all.

The Breaking of the Day
Addeth to my Degree—
If any ask me how—
Artist—who drew me so—
Must tell!

Because the Bee may blameless hum

Emily Dickinson

Because the Bee may blameless hum
For Thee a Bee do I become
List even unto Me.

Because the Flowers unafraid
May lift a look on thine, a Maid
Alway a Flower would be.

Nor Robins, Robins need not hide
When Thou upon their Crypts intrude
So Wings bestow on Me
Or Petals, or a Dower of Buzz
That Bee to ride, or Flower of Furze
I that way worship Thee.


I had a lot of time to think yesterday, about the break up of a political group, and the ongoing painful dissolution of an intimate working relationship. And bees — I spent a lot of time thinking about bees.

Colonies Elliott batTzedek It is not that we can not work together. It’s that we work as bee colonies. Individuals, droning in shared purpose, pausing in doorways, dancing to give such divinely complicated directions to the pollen that comes and goes so quickly. And the queen bee? Ah—the queen bee. Well. The colony keeps her undercover, everything delivered to support her single task— making more of us and more. There are always more and always at some point other queens arise and we divide, we divide, and some stay and some follow to a new field. This is a beginning, always beginning, a fresh start in an old world. This is birth, survival at the most fundamental level— resources stretched too far can not suffice. And, too crowded, we do sting one another more or less accidentally. So we go off carrying all we’ve learned carrying shared genes, shared dreams and remembering how to make honey how to make honey how to make more of us and feed each other honey.

More on Earth day

Bees are disappearing, dying in mass numbers from a disease that’s spread around the world. Bees are a main pollinator of many of food crops. Without them, blooms do not become food. To quote my friend Lierre Keith, “if you are putting the pieces together, you are starting to feel the cold chill of horror up your spine.”

Do you know that scientists studying native species of plants and animals go through cultural relics, such as poems, songs, tapestries, old recipes, to see what species were present and known to people at any one point in history?

I thought of this today, coming across these lines from Tennyson’s “Come Down, O Maid:”

…the children call, and I
Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound,
Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;
Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro’ the lawn,
The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.

Will this one day soon be evidence of when such a thing was possible, along with thousands and thousands of poems about songbirds? Where I grew up, in Illinois, the immemorial elms were only bits of remaining rotted stumps and street names of treeless streets by the time I was a child, the Dutch Elm canopies only a story my dad told me, like the hillside that had been huge walnut trees before they were all ripped out to make rifles for WW II.

When is the last time you heard the murmur of innumerable bees? Have you ever, walking through a clover field, or lounging in the grass near wild flowers or fruit trees in the spring?

Do you, can you, notice the silence that is absence of presence?

A Poem for Earth Day

A Poem for Earth Day
Elliott batTzedek

I wake up, drag
my ass out of bed when
the dogs’ whining is several
decibels past unavoidable and then
they cascade down stairs as I
galumph behind, then
out the back door they go
so they can pee, then
the same for me,
but in the bathroom,
where I finish and flush
and then grab a plastic bag and scoop
the cat shit and piss clumps from
the litter box, tie the bag, take it out
the front door and throw
it in the garbage, go back
to the bathroom, where a cat will be
using the clean field, and I listen
to the scratching while I wash
my hands, fill the cat food bowl then
back into kitchen to turn on
the water for coffee and fill
the dog food bowls then let
the dogs in to eat as I dump
yesterday’s grounds into the compost bucket and eat
my morning protein bar with vitamin water to wash
down the various drugs and herbs
and supplements, then let
the dogs out to poop, which I will later
put into plastic bags and throw
into the garbage, but right now I press
the French press and add
splenda and half and half, then let
the dogs back in and head
upstairs again, sucking in coffee with each
step, to check my morning email, and by
the time I address the first several electronic
urgencies and scan NYTimes online the coffee has
worked its daily magic and I go
back to the bathroom for my morning poop, which
I also flush away, and I understand
perfectly well the process
of digestion, so I know
where all this shit comes from. The question
today is where is
all this shit going cause
there’s no such place
as away and I don’t know what
I think I’m saving with that
one little compost bucket trick but
I am quite certain it is
not the Earth.