Thursday, September 24, 2020

Telling the Bees

Telling the Bees ~ L'assemblage by Michael Douglas Jones  ©2020 



I am the beekeeper’s boy. I learned early on to weave the willow, to keep the skeps in good order, to keep us queenright during the years of colony collapse, after the beekeeper was conscripted into the war before this war. 

My mother is the mistress of the house; the keys on her chatelaine control the locks and secret doors. She keeps the inside; I keep the outside. The house is her hive, but she, in turn, must tell the bees her secrets, her sorrows; tell the news when the letters arrive. She was taught by our ancient mother to tap, three times, on the hive with her door key; to drape black crepe on dark days, when the carriage climbs the gated hill. She was taught to place white cake on wedding days, when the carriage winds its way past the Queen Anne’s Lace on the churchouse road. Just as we share the sunflower, the bees share the capped cell; we are family, we share joy; we share sorrow. We keep together. Home and skep, kept together.

From the bankbarn, I see her in the garden, on the path to the hives, through the cornflower and bramble blossom, past the honeysuckle waiting for the heather; the pollen peppers the black dress, the mourning dress her mother wore, in the war before this war. My mother walks the widow's walk, carrying the black crepe tied with a grey wool ribbon.


Three times, she taps on the hive with her door key,

three times, she taps on the terracotta top;

three times, asking them to spiral up and over,

three times higher than the vault of heaven;

Three times, she whispers,

telling the bees,

telling the bees,

telling the bees.


I was the beekeeper’s boy.

I am the beekeeper now.


 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

EQUALITY2020

EQUALITY 2020 ~ L'assemblage by Michael Douglas Jones  ©2020 



"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."

                                                ~ Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

·

    In the middlenight, we plant by moonlight; when we falter at the ridge on the burnt hill road of equality, we will not fall, we remember your promise on that last day, and keep climbing.

    We do not grieve for you; we will miss you more than all we’ve lost, but grief is for the suffering and you did not accept suffering. Your reach is wider now; we did not think that possible. No longer from anywhere, you are not of any age; you have always been, and will always be the voice, the plan of the planter; sowing the slow growth of equality.

    They that seed are everything; they are the breath, the whisper, the promise of all that came before. Your lantern shines through the chiaroscuro, from every starlit flicker to the blueblack wings of night, and we will hold that ageless flame before us, and go, as you would go, to the ridge where the hardwood seeds will grow. 


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Court Street

Court Street ~ L'assemblage by Michael Douglas Jones  ©2020



    The rumble of the railcars on East Street, the rattle of the wagons on Market, the banter and chatter inside the city keeps a man from thinking beyond the busyness of the morning, so by dayend, I search for solace down the moss tinged cobblestone of Court Street toward the Carroll creek once more, to hear the calming rush and roll of water, to sit upon a cedar bench.

My old friend, the cedar bench; the two of us, grayed with age, waiting for the moon to rise.  We sit silent, as audience to the sunset songs of cricket, frog, and creek; I collect my thoughts, which are always of you.

Here, by the water, under the black walnut, with the scent of sassafras, I buy brief passage to another time, a long ago September, when you would simply seduce every sense I possess.

                                    

                                                ~ Michael Douglas Jones



Frederick in Spires

 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Poet Heart

Poet Heart ~ L'assemblage by Michael Douglas Jones  ©2020





    My poet heart is writing on a pass of paper clouds moving left to write across the frozen northern fields; a crystal breath, billowing, filling the late afternoon with wonder and words that appear, and disappear, in moments of vivid crescent light and violescent shade.

    Crows flock in as punctuation; a caw here, a comma there, returning to roost in the fine handwritten script of bare maple branches. Turkey vultures sail in too, crossing the T's of hickory trees, and underlining the rhyme in blueblack. From my cottage, to the south behind, a faint scent of bitternut smoke colors this poem in bittersweet.

    And here I stand in the still, below the westwrit wind; my pencil in my pocket, my poet heart tucked up my sleeve. I raise my hand to write this down, to carry it in leatherbound, but the pencil pulls the poem apart, and all of this begins again.

    My poet heart is writing on a fade of falling dark.

                     
                                                                             
                                                                                ~ Michael Douglas Jones



Friday, May 8, 2020

Moving Through the Meadow

Moving Through the Meadow ~ L'assemblage by Michael Douglas Jones  ©2020




The beekeeper’s boy sits in the meadow,
in the murmur of the moment;
watching the movement of rising and falling;
the bees, their being, and non-being.

Watching, waiting, listening for the bees.
Was that their whisper,
was that the wind, 
or just the whir of white noise.

Colony collapse has finally hit the hive.

The beekeeper’s boy, who raised this rabble,
must now give them up.

The queen is quietly mercurial;
the swarm is more like mayhem.

Still, he had seen the miracle
moving through the meadow.

The beekeeper’s boy sits in the meadow,
 in the measured hours of this moment,
where future will not arrive, and past no longer matters.

The useful Arts and Mysteries, the apicultural history,
the architecture of Aristaeus, all have crumbled,
and lay like wax cappings near recently robbed hives,
like shell casings near recently robbed lives.

Still, he had seen the miracle
moving through the meadow.




Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Social Democracy

Angels in the Air © 2020 Michael Douglas Jones
Prints available: http://goo.gl/ue83F



I have friends and family on every spectrum of belief and knowledge; I love each and all of them, and will not sacrifice one for another during this pestilence. We are a community and my signature is on a social contract that I pledge to uphold every day that I live.

So, here we are; shouting about freedom, about liberty, and that is all well and good. If we are here to voice our wishes, our choices, as to who we are, where we came from as we made this our world, and in this voicing, we honor our ancestors that lived, that died, that came here to this land, to this life, to this day, to be the best that humankind, that human kindness could be, then, we are here to make humankind the best kindness for our children, and their children, and their children's’ children.  Our voice, in fact, our entire life, is based on one choice, and that is this; Love or Fear. At day’s end, what is it that you love; what is it that you fear? I do not fear inclusion; I do not fear diversity of belief; I do not fear the other, because there is no other.


   I have read the volumes about angels in the air, seen my share of Sunday sermons, stood inside the stunning limestone cathedrals, and sat beneath the vault of heaven, but this is my experience of faith, as I find it in every moment of the everyday.


You breathe out

and I breathe in;
where you leave off
and I begin,
I cannot say.
Where you leave off
and God begins,
I cannot say.
This is my faith,
simply said.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Muse Descending

Muse Descending ~ L'assemblage by Michael Douglas Jones  ©2020




In the midst of this malaise,
the muse descended,
as quiet as a baby’s breath.

Listen; are those falling leaves
or tiny wings.

The muse comes,
not in grand gown,
but at odd hour,
with shoulder wrapped
and whispering.

She touches down lightly,
sprinkling gold dust,
stardust, rust,
and we are waiting here,
with arms open,
or eyes closed,
and still she comes,
as she is.

This always was;
always will be.