Honeybees Holler Help!

honey-beeSome of the poets who have appeared in this space have expressed a great fondness for bees. In the poem “The Force of Friendship,” Rumi wrote “The bee, through mystic inspiration, fills its rooms with honey.” In the poem “Last Night, As I Was Sleeping,” Antonio Machado dreamed of a beehive in his heart, where the golden bees made white combs and sweet honey from his past failures.

The movie “The Deadly Bees” was made during my childhood  During my lifetime, much anxiety has been expressed over the spread of Africanized bees through South and Central America.

Honeybees holler help!

These days, honeybees in North America and Europe are having troubles. Apparently entire colonies of bees collapse as part of the normal course of events. 2006 was a particularly bad year for beekeepers. This isn’t just bad for beekeepers or honey lovers. This is bad for growers and eaters of the many different foods pollinated by honeybees, like you and me.

People seem to have recognized that this is a serious problem. I believe a lot of smart people are working on the problem. Many causes have been proposed, including pesticides, parasites, viruses, fungi, genetic factors, beekeeping practices and electromagnetic radiation.

I make no claim to know which cause or group of causes is the most important factor. All I know is that the collapse of large numbers of bee colonies is the bees’ way of crying out “Help!” I hope that we remember how much we need the bees. I hope we are not too hard on the bees.

I recently had a thought that every species on earth needs a human spokesperson, a human advocate, a human singer of that species. Who hears the honeybees holler help? I’m not taking on Apis mellifera, the honeybee, at least not today, but it would be a good thing if someone did.

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The Force of Friendship by Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks

Rumi felt the force of friendship when he met Shams of Tabriz

This poem appears in Book 6 (out of 6) of the Masnavi (I’ve seen it spelled Masnavi, Mathnawi and Mathnavi).

In Islamic tradition, Satan’s great sin was his refusal to bow before Adam (Surah 2:34). This poem references that tradition.

The second half of the poem about the mouse and the frog is the final portion of a much longer story describing the friendship between the mouse and the frog.

The Force of Friendship

In Rumi's poem The Force of Friendship, a dugong finds a special pearl

A sea-cow, a dugong, finds a special pearl
and brings it up on land at night. By the light it gives off
the dugong can graze on hyacinths and lilies.

The excrement of the dugong is precious ambergris
because it eats such beauty. Anyone who feeds on Majesty
becomes eloquent. The bee, from mystic inspiration,
fills its rooms with honey.

So the dugong grazes at night in the pearl-glow.
Presently, a merchant comes and drops black loam
over the pearl, then hides behind a tree to watch.

The dugong surges about the meadow like a blind bull.
Twenty times it rushes at nothing, passing the mound
where the pearl is.

So Satan couldn’t see
the spirit-center inside Adam.

God says, Descend,
and a huge pearl from Aden gets buried under dirt.
The merchant knows,
but the dugong doesn’t.

Every clay-pile with a pearl inside
loves to be near any other clay-pile with a pearl,
but those without pearls cannot stand to be near
the hidden companionship.

Remember the mouse on the riverbank?
There’s a love-string stretching into the water
hoping for the frog.

Suddenly a raven grips the mouse and flies off.
The frog too, from the riverbottom,
with one foot entangled in the invisible string,
follows, suspended in the air.
Amazed faces ask, “When did a raven ever go underwater and catch a frog?

The frog answers, “This is the force of Friendship.”
What draws friends together
does not conform to Laws of Nature.
Form doesn’t know about spiritual closeness.
If a grain of barley approaches a grain of wheat,
an ant must be carrying it. A black ant on black felt.
You can’t see it, but if grains go toward each other,
it’s there.

A hand shifts our birdcages around.
Some are brought closer. Some move apart.
Do not try to reason it out. Be conscious
of who draws you and who not.

Gabriel was always there with Jesus, lifting him
above the dark-blue vault, the night-fortress world,
just as the raven of longing carries the flying frog.

 

 

This rendering of this poem is found in the book This Longing: Poetry, Teaching-Stories, and Letters of Rumi, edited by Coleman Barks and John Moyne.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.