I'm off into hospital tomorrow for a big op and it's intended that I shall stay there for about ten days. As little blogging will be carried on during this time I thought I'd leave you with a difficult poem (referred to here). It is mostly mysterious but illuminated by flashes of beauty - and therefore rather lifelike.
It's called The Winter Bees. I suppose it has some personal resonance as the honey bees of the title don't hibernate, they slow down and huddle together to keep going; more or less my modus operandi over the last couple of years and for the next couple of months. It's by Jon Silkin, a poet the majority of whose poems I'm not fussed about. However, occasionally and when he writes about nature I think he can come up with poetry as good as anything written in recent decades.
Anyway, ta-ra! Don't be afeard - the operation is intended to restore me to full fitness so it's a good thing. What's playing on my mind most right now is that I'll be missing most of Masterchef Professional. For a second year, too.
The Winter Bees
Winter bees, finding enough blossom,
of the sweet small copiousness they cram
winter - frozen muddle - with amorous pressure;
the acetylene flare of bees, nectaring
in suffused purple light; the honey
cool moral, waylaid by feelers.
Flickering sugary flowers, their doused blameless
substance a gelid intermittent veining,
like strands of wintery heat - the bee hunts them
for liquor, jabbing a superfluity.
Veined blossom flickering, scalloped clouds, these consonant
sharing forms, a bee their suffering link,
is also a heated wire, quick form.
The zone forks its electrics, the sky, fanned
in ridges like a shell, splits with a flash;
the bivalve in a half form, coy fissure.
In cold this unceasing flare is work
a prisoner of honey slowly unwinds
as if it were a spidery filament;
oozed sugary superfluity
the jasmine hardly notices it yields.
The face is winter's
plum-coloured, a huntsman's hung up in the fog.
A doe, spotting soft grass and briar, her breath
gassed in exhaustion, inoperative limbs
tied as a thicket is, green liquid,
greasy manufacture you recognise
is gangrene. Recognise these shifting marshes,
the horses buttocks, the man's slighter ones
a contour upon the animal fixed like
a grin, blood misting the thicket. Remus,
with fierce light, with struggling blood, as if
you ploughed up North America, tune your horn
with fierce light, with straggling blood - as if
the evening's silvery flanks, the gashed flanks,
the simple sun, gashed. Hot star, rise up, see
your furred contemporary, curious nectar
of the lonely; the dead wings, without weight;
the embrasures of honey, the queen's furred kinsmen
in rows and layers, effigies for the spider;
pointed receptacles, corbels of honey
fluted with dust, scum upon amber fluid.
The young boy shoves off for lunch, whistling -
his little pipes, the unbroken larynx, are reeds
of cheerfulness, earth for him so much down,
fluff, a mantle, on the bellowing cheeks.