'In the great bee crisis, it is impossible not to see the metaphor.’
As usual the flowers were complaining
About their blooming lot –
In Winter it was always raining,
The Summers were too hot,
The hedge too high;
The shrubbery and rose-beds needed weeding,
The edges cutting back,
The mossy lawn required reseeding,
The black-flies were too black,
The soil too dry.
But nothing bugged these flowers like the spectre
Of swarms of honey-bees
Who helped themselves to English nectar
And never once said please.
‘Those striped marauders!’
‘It’s time we told the bees that we don’t need ’em!’
And so they took a poll
And talked about the blossoming of freedom
Once they’d won back control
Of their own borders.
Next morning when the honey-bees clocked on
The flowers hid their faces,
Until the busy bees had gone
To find more friendly places
Than this sad grot.
Which now is left a bolted, blighted spot
Of rust and smut and weed,
A wilderness of inky blot,
A garden gone to seed
And left to rot.
The earth’s the fruit of all our labours
While Eve still spins and Adam delves,
And those who do not like their neighbours
Must learn to go and fuck themselves.
(from The Sailors of Ulm, Shoestring Press, forthcoming 2020)
Andy Croft runs the T-junction international poetry festival, the Ripon poetry festival and Smokestack Books (www.smokestack-books.co.uk). His latest collection, The Sailors of Ulm is due from Shoestring Press in March.