The Last Days of Summer Before the First Frost
BY TIM BOWLING
The Last Days of Summer Before the First Frost
BY TIM BOWLING
Reader, yesterday I received a call from a reporter at WCPO’s Channel 9, Cincinnati’s local news station. Cierra Johnson asked if she could visit with me about the terrible effect the winter-of-the-polar-vortices had on the local bee population.
I was on my way to check on some bees when she called, so I invited Cierra to join me, and she did. We had a very nice time among the bees, and Cierra put together quite a nice story…which ended up being more about the effects the lack of good foraging has on the bee population. Which was a terrific adjustment on Cierra’s part, because she got it. She understood that the lack of a rich food supply is much more devastating for the bees than the cold. If they have enough food, Reader, the frigid temperatures shouldn’t be an issue.
I liked that when the piece came together on TV, the Channel 9 anchors kept calling me “Tilton.”
Reader, as you know by now, wild is better for bees. And when I say “wild,” I mean a wild habitat. Wildness. Wild flowers.
Manicured lawns have absolutely nothing to offer the bees.
Those bees that I keep in neighborhoods with manicured lawns—those lawns sprayed to remove all hint of dandelion and clover and gorgeous weeds—starve. The bees starve because after the trees lose their blooms and leaf out in the spring, nothing remains on which the bees can forage. Summer and autumn and winter become a prolonged dearth.
Those bees living in areas with wild prairie and meadows, those hives that have access to three-season forage, thrive.
I drive through my neighborhood and I see nothing but manicured lawns. I live in a beautiful, affluent neighborhood. One known for its stewardship of green spaces. But I’m coming to realize that my affluent neighbors and I have been neglectful. We’ve neglected the wild. We keep the wild too much at bay. Much to the detriment of our wildlife. And our wild lives. We need our wild lives.
So, this year, Reader, I’m on a bandwagon.
I plan to gather my affluent and influential clients…those who have lawn to spare. Those who hire landscapers to keep their expansive lawns nice and green. Those who can afford to do what I propose. I want us to meet together with representatives of Ohio Prairie Nursery and with our landscapers and with our city council representatives. I want us to begin devoting parts of our lawn to wildness.
Watch us, Reader. We’re gonna transform our lives. And it will be gorgeous.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
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,
far beyond anything
we would have said
BY LUCI SHAW
March. I am beginning
to anticipate a thaw. Early mornings
the earth, old unbeliever, is still crusted with frost
where the moles have nosed up their
cold castings, and the ground cover
in shadow under the cedars hasn’t softened
for months, fogs layering their slow, complicated ice
around foliage and stem
night by night,
but as the light lengthens, preacher
of good news, evangelizing leaves and branches,
his large gestures beckon green
out of gray. Pinpricks of coral bursting
from the cotoneasters. A single bee
finding the white heather. Eager lemon-yellow
aconites glowing, low to the ground like
little uplifted faces. A crocus shooting up
a purple hand here, there, as I stand
on my doorstep, my own face drinking in heat
and light like a bud welcoming resurrection,
and my hand up, too, ready to sign on
Play in Which Darkness Falls
BY FRANK STANFORD
Two girls runaway from the Home. They have a revolver
in their possession. The Sisters Of Our Lady have given up
looking for them, returning in the night with soft candles.
The sleek clouds have thrown their riders, and the bees
are returning to the honey, the clover at the edge of the
cliff black as eyelids, damp as blue mussels flexing at the moon.
The girls look in the stolen mirror, then throw their shoes
in the sea. They take off one another’s dress, posing
on the rocks that jut out over the faded water of the last days.
The clover beat down from their splendid feet, the clover
quiet like a vault. Nearby in a ship named for early death,
I drink wine like a city. Anchored far off the continent of love.
Strange, but bees do not die in their own honey, and how the dead
are toted off, how the sweet moons are deposited in the catacombs.
The clover at the edge of the sea like a chemise, place
where animals have lain. They help one another with their hair,
their dresses blowing back to land. They look over the
cliff, spit on the beach. Birds I have never seen going by.
BY SUSAN KINSOLVING
Trust that there is a tiger, muscular
Tasmanian, and sly, which has never been
seen and never will be seen by any human
eye. Trust that thirty thousand sword-
fish will never near a ship, that far
from cameras or cars elephant herds live
long elephant lives. Believe that bees
by the billions find unidentified flowers
on unmapped marshes and mountains. Safe
in caves of contentment, bears sleep.
Through vast canyons, horses run while slowly
snakes stretch beyond their skins in the sun.
I must trust all this to be true, though
the few birds at my feeder watch the window
with small flutters of fear, so like my own.
My Mother’s Pansies
BY SHARON OLDS
And all that time, in back of the house,
there were pansies growing, some silt blue,
some silt yellow, most of them sable
red or purplish sable, heavy
as velvet curtains, so soft they seemed wet but they were
dry as powder on a luna’s wing,
dust on an alluvial path, in a drought
summer. And they were open like lips,
and pouted like lips, and they had a tiny fur-gold
v, which made bees not be able
to not want. And so, although women, in our
lobes and sepals, our corollas and spurs, seemed
despised spathe, style-arm, standard,
crest, and fall,
still there were those plush entries,
night mouth, pillow mouth,
anyone might want to push
their pinky, or anything, into such velveteen
chambers, such throats, each midnight-velvet
petal saying touch-touch-touch, please-touch, please-touch,
each sex like a spirit-shy, flushed, praying.
BY RITA DOVE
In math I was the whiz kid, keeper
of oranges and apples. What you don’t understand,
master, my father said; the faster
I answered, the faster they came.
I could see one bud on the teacher’s geranium,
one clear bee sputtering at the wet pane.
The tulip trees always dragged after heavy rain
so I tucked my head as my boots slapped home.
My father put up his feet after work
and relaxed with a highball and The Life of Lincoln.
After supper we drilled and I climbed the dark
before sleep, before a thin voice hissed
numbers as I spun on a wheel. I had to guess.
Ten, I kept saying, I’m only ten.