Category Archives: Poetry Month

Bumble

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What power in flights of the bumblebee
Hovering abuzz among sweet flowers
I admit one so small does humble me.

Blossom to bloom, wings flap and rumble free
Climbing petals to apex of bower
What power in flights of the bumble bee.

Swiping pollen to stamen in umbel sea
Sipping nectar, flitting hour to hour
I admit one so small does humble me.

Brave men grunt in wild, yet with grumbling flee
(The threat of stinger leads them to cower)
What power in flights of the bumblebee.

 

Home made in remains of a crumbled tree
Five thousand flowers a day it empowers.
I admit one so small does humble me.

Alas, my poem serves as short fumbled plea
For their scarcity fills me with dour.
What power in flights of the bumble bee –
I admit one so small does humble me.

The rusty-patched bumblebee is a bumblebee and it is endangered. The world of bees is shaken to its core. Many culprits have arisen, though I suspect many culprits are guilty. Bumblebees, mason bees, other bees – are better at pollinating than honeybees. But we get honey from honeybees. Maybe that’s why?

The rusty-patch does live in large colonies. It is named for a rust-colored patch of hair on its abdomen. Bumblebees are not necessarily friendly, but they tend to leave people alone if left alone themselves. They can sometimes be found, exhausted, lying on the ground. Sometimes a bit of sugar water can energize them. Individual bees do not have long lifespans, however – they exist to serve the colony.

Bees are terribly important ecologically, also economically.

The poem is a villanelle. I have written exactly one before this, but I’m quite happy with how it turned out. I also hope we can help the bees.

Ele-fan

Will you be within African Forest?
Or the yellow plain of the Savannah?
Sumatra within the bright rainforest?
Within the pages of the Brahmana?
You stand, great bulk towering over all
The creatures of land. Plain or verdant wood.
Should I meet you, I do not intend gall
But as I clasp hand to trunk, brotherhood.
Your family dominates the sunset
Trumpeting the gentle descent of night.
Such a meeting, I would not soon forget
But hold in memory well past daylight.
For the elephant remembers it’s friends.
I offer reciprocity to that end.

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This may be the 2nd sonnet I’ve ever written in my life. About elephants! About a third of the way through the month, I decided elephants could pop up. I was trying to avoid the most well-known species for a bit, but I obviously failed earlier with the rhino.

Elephants have two species: African and Asian. The African is the larger of the two, and always has tusks. Each is split into subspecies. All are Endangered in some way.

Elephants, being large enough to hold up magical worlds, eat a lot. Due to the loss of grazing land for their massive 

diets, they begin to die out. Elephants show great intelligence, kindness, clarity. The remember medical clinics where they can get help – and help others. They have saved the lives of humans. They are known to mourn their dead in funeral.

This poem is somewhat personal, silly as it may sound, because I have always wanted to meet and befriend an elephant. They are one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet.

Introvert Orangutan

He’s the “man of the forest,” alone in the trees
With a bearded visage and short reaching knees.
An arboreal lifestyle, shy, what a pity.
Oh long-armed friend, won’t you come to the city?

You say forest only, I’m not convinced on that thought.
You’re too anti-social, I think it best you ought
To give apartment living a try.
These big city flats are incredibly high.

Swing from the flagpoles, enter by roof.
Throw on a hoodie, draw it tight – and poof!
No one would bother you at the fruit stand
They’d think you a long-armed, fuzzy old man.

Possibly a client of an espresso shop
Who sits “novelling” until the herbal tea is hot.

Or stay in the woods! But, know that I care.
I worry the woods won’t always be there.
The fruit it is fresh and the air it is clean.
I’ll understand if you refuse the urban scene.

There are three species of Orangutan – Sumatran, Bornean, and Tapnuli. They are all quite endangered.

Orangutans eat mainly fruit and leave most of their lives in the canopy. Compared to all primates, they are the least social. Long arms, very fuzzy, with red hair. This allows them great skill when re-shelving library books as well.

Likely, they also do not live near a city center, but given their anti-social tendencies, I do think they may be sneaking into indie band concerts and giving opinions on cold brew coffee.

Trees of a Certain Age

There are trees that grow in Africa that can live a thousand years!

But people sneak in the front of the garden, cut them out of bed, and sneak out the rears!

The Cycad also carries other bright distinctions.

It has survived three mass extinctions!

A thick, woody trunk like those with leaves nibbled by the sauropods.

It’s relatives survive today in fancy gardens and in nature against enormous odds.

Imagine! A plant with a cousin in the Jurassic!

Dating to the Permian Era! That’s just fantastic.

Today, they have the largest seed cone of any plant.

If it can pollinate, which is hard with numbers so scant.

It suffers from habitat loss and too much distance to properly help others of its kind to fertilize.

Normally, a beetle is used, but now it’s people who hand carry the pollen that prevent its demise.

And I think we could consider the cycad and respect it for the age of its genus.

Don’t be fooled by individuals that would never be accused of leanness.

And consider that plants, too can become endangered species.

Fungus, as well – danger is not limited to the beasties.

The Cycad has recently been found to NOT have been alive during the dinosaur era – more specifically the species surviving today. This is due to evolution of the various extants, so I think the non-precision of calling it a dinosaur plant is fine.

Cycads are found in Africa and Australia in the wild where they grow too far apart to pollinate and people keep stealing them from everywhere. The transplants rarely go well. It is devestating to learn a plant with such a close link to ages past may soon be gone. Animals get all the press, but plants, fungus, and other eukaryotes face extinction as well. It’s probably the lack of a face that keeps it forgotten.

The poem is in the style of Ogden Nash who would write paragraph-length sentences and technically rhyme in couplets. He wrote very silly poetry (“light verse”) and I enjoy his style quite a bit. “In chaos sublunary / What remains constant but buffoonery?” he wrote – which I try to incorporate in my poems this month. I think the main emotion has been anger-foonery.

Beware of the Leopard

Beware of the Leopard is what the sign said

It has claws and sharp teeth and needs to be fed

But I’m not a wild boar or a large ungulate

I doubt spotted cats find human taste great.

The leopards prefer hiding in snowdrifted plots

Protected in thick fur wrapped in florette spots.

Beware of the Leopard? The fear’s overblown.

Leopards ought beware humans, the record has shown.

The Amur Leopard is… a leopard. There are about less than 90 in existence right now. Amur Leopards live in Asia, the most critically endangered of the leopards. Solitary and likely a pro on the basketball court with their vertical leap, they prefer to play in one-on-one tourneys when possible. Like most giant cats they are carnivorous. They enjoy the cold snowy winter as well.

The poem’s title is a reference to a sign in Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The reference is far more appropriate than one may think – Douglas Adams was a great proponent of endangered and threatened animals. The Amur is on top of many endangered species lists, partly due to the alphabet, but also because there aren’t many left.