By Tom Chester
Skeps, mud-wattled, topped by ekes,
Snug in timeless, stone-bound boles,
Tended by their keepers, our ancient forebears
Wise in the ways of the honey-bee.
They who tanged to lure errant swarms
To be captured for increase.
They who burned the fabled brimstone
To sacrifice hives for honey and wax,
Sweet food in a world without sugar,
Sweet light in a world lit only by fire.
And when those ancient ones died
The living went to the hives
To drape them in mourning,
To tap on them to tell the bees
Their keeper was dead,
For untold, the bees would flee.
What do we husband today,
Gleaning sweetness and light,
And wisdom by the way?