Telling the Bees
The day that Grandpa died, that very day,
My father took my hand and led the way
On up the garden, round behind the potting shed,
And showed me how to tell the bees that he was dead:
He gently rapped the back-door key
Against the frame, and spoke the name,
Then wordless handed it to me
That I should do the same.
I guess it worked – this informed hive, now his,
Survived intact, as was, as is –
Though surely, bees think not of grief
When Father was, to them, a honey-thief.
The day that Father died, it fell to me
To take my son and take my key
And pass on the traditions of the hive –
To tell the bees he was no more alive.
But as I rapped upon their frame,
My puzzled boy a little scared,
I found I could not speak his name
To bees who neither knew nor cared.
And so, I placed a hand upon my lad
And told him how we honour Dad –
It’s not through what the past believes,
But like he taught: by being honey-thieves.