Blue; South; What Lyell Wrote about Geology; Surprising Facts about Bees


On one side, the blue hills that raise
the question, why we see distance as blue.
Yet there they are, as blue as the domed sky,
blue as the melancholy of the year
that lurches sideways from the winter solstice.
Those blue remembered hills: another question.
Are those sad distances, cyano-dyed,
a stretch of space arrayed with stars and hills,
or otherwise a stretch of time distressed
by memory? The strong dispersing children
who used to come home every day, and now
only on holidays. Childhood itself
still somehow there, two hundred miles away,
due east, beside the quiet Delaware.

Emily, where are you going? I don’t know.
I think I’m going to New York, and yet
the roads are patched with snow. The Poconos
stand high between the city and this small
way station where I wait for the great bus
and drink some coffee while the winter falls.

Where do I want to go? In fact, I truly
hope to travel east, reach the big city
and see my friends and marvel at the towers.
But part of me is longing for the south,
the trees of summer where a river winds
below the music of a thousand birds,

an undercurrent of delicious sound.
The treble clef extends a flock of song,
the bass recalls the boulders underneath
that beat in time, and all the banks upstream
the river passed and will not meet again.
Who stands there, captured by that harmony?
What Lyell Wrote about Geology

In mines and canyons, underneath the fields,
we read the undesigned
traces of the past, its vestiges.
Unlike the bright remains
sculpted or painted in domestic caves
(Lascaux or Altamira),
they are not meant to touch a later age,
to color or deceive.
The serried layers beneath
present themselves the way they always were.
The earth can never lie; it tells the truth
in balustrades and stairs not meant to last,
in storeys undesigned,
the plain infernal strata of the past.
Surprising Facts about Bees


Because it fools the birds
That prey on them, some flies
Can mimic bees! Though birds
Like munching flies, they stay
Away from bees because
An angry bee bites back.

Most bee-mimic flies
Do not eat bees, and yet
The dire Robber Fly
Does, armed with a set
Of sharp predacious jaws
Most flies do not enjoy.

So like the Robber Barons,
The Robber Flies swoop down,
Felling the sweetest tribe
And stealing without notice
Their clever pollinations
And honey from us all.


Bomba Polaris
Is a bee that lives
Above the Arctic Circle!
It can survive
Nearly freezing temperatures
Because of its thick hairy
Coat, and its odd
Ability to build
Insulated nests.

Below the Arctic Circle
It pollinates Pedicular
A hemipredator
Within the Broomrape family.
Who would rape a broom?
Why would a clever bee
Pollinate a louse?

Dig into the roots
Of other plants, and steel
Their nutrients, sometimes
Because though they
Are plants, they are not green:
They cannot photosynthesize.
Should we discourage them?

And such a miscreant
Is Bastard Toadflax.
And yet sometimes it leads
To better, greater
Biodiversity. Perhaps
That might explain
Why super-polar bees
Helpfully sometimes bomb
Lousewort and Bastard
Toadflax, despite their names.