Porté De Abejos

By Sheri Fresonke Harper

The beekeeper must leave his terraced hills,
his red and cracking soil,
where seepage feeds rosemary
and lavender endures.

He must set aside the stone press
pulled round-and-round by oxen
and his Persian wheel retrieving water
to irrigate these combed fields,

give up orange-blossomed air,
fruits whose juices spill down chin,
or swell to light up day
or inscribe truth in verse,

say good-bye to the jeweled bee-eater —
a rainbow-hued bird spinning toward God
or swooping relentlessly down
in search of honeybees.

He must leave to sink down cenote,
dive among nymphs in the sea,
and conquer Proteus who shifts form,
but has advice to cure a man's bees.

The seas pleasures do not compare
to honey, mead and bees gentle song.
The hero who tends the sick
knows what love of land entails,

knows his errors require sacrifice —
a beast's flesh must fold
to provide a feast — a place
where honeybees collect then soar
until, once more, the land is free
to bloom under his grateful hands.


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