— grafted during the first instar,
the bee queen emerges from her piping season,
seizing back her marking pen . . . . . . then
October, 1962 — she marks 25 commemorations.
Sovereign to the worms & the dirt
ever before the flowers —
the (falling) matriarch pledges her fertility
— the ripe decay of thirty summers — and all of her sustenance,
down to her last drop of bee bread . . . . . . when
grave-digging season sets in — —
the wintering winds advance their fury,
only to fall powerless to her excellency’s own —
she, the ruler of perpetual oblivion from birth;
she, the hemolymph, possessing all the warmth of a winter cluster, alone.
She is the solitary swarm & the numb-lipped lone-ness
stinging & streaming out her black-death ribbons
all at once — mad & buzzing for a legacy,
with her ink-stamped honeycomb of grave goods
she migrates to a last December
where Yeats’ ghost has been commissioned
for the blessing of her coffin hive
on Fitzroy, in Primrose
— the Fates’ parting pittance
& the royal clock snow-stopped to mourn
the coming of her majesty’s farewell year
(how sticky with pride she must have been)
1963 . . . . . . February —
the death season; she is abdicating
nothing; the queen propolizes her throne
& with permanent assemblage — —
She remains entombed & numinous
to reign in the 4 a.m. phosphorescence
of her fever-hazed confession room — —
She, the immortal & malevolent
nebulous with the brooding antennae
& a brimming pollen basket; she remains.
Not of country; not of colony
but surely of a realm preceding America . . .
She, the mother tongue, spoon-fed of royal jelly —
with her London death — the old smoke —
and the headstone to prove it.