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