Monday, 4 October 2010

On not hibernating

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.


zmkc said...

I hope it will all be accomplished with the minimum of stress, pain et cetera and look forward to your return home and renewed blogging. Very best wishes Z

worm said...


Seriously hope everything runs smoothly and yo're back amongst the fray asap!!!!

Gaw said...

Thanks both!

Sean said...

Good Luck!

I Hope its not one of these


malty said...

Never mind the poetry, just make sure that upon discharge you count your fingers and toes, it is the NHS.

Hope all goes well.

Recusant said...

God bless you and keep you Gaw. Make sure that someone brings you in some edibles to eat that actually tastes of something; cheese or salami, or somesuch. Hospitals are dull and boring places at the best of times, but the food in the NHS will kill of anyone with a discerning palate.

Gaw said...

Thanks everyone for the good wishes.