Hi Honey, I’m Home !

High Summer, High Noon At Abbey Hive
High Summer At Abbey Hive

This weekend is the last chance to write a winning haiku for a visit to the Bermondsey Street Bees apiary. See this link to the Bee-haiku Competition for a simple haiku construction-kit and the 4 contending haikus. Why bother ? Well, here is an ever-so-slightly-over-written vignette which may whet your appetite….

My advice to bee-fanciers: there is no better time to visit a beehive than on a warm midsummer’s day around noon (taking account of all permissions and sensible precautions, of course). As you approach, a polka-dot pandemonium of yellow and black resolves itself into two bee-dances of distinctly different tempos being performed in front of the hive entrance.

First, the looping swing-dance of the novice flyers fills the vertical plane, hive-facing and elliptical, while glissades of hard-flying, veteran foragers trace determined zip-lines to and from the hive. Using the shifting sun as their compass, the bees are pin-point marionettes, orienteering to their hive in a veritable “Cirque du Soleil”.

OK, so I’m biased. But I think that we should be awe-struck by the bees’ ability to navigate harmoniously in the crowded airspace directly outside the hive. The fast-foraging aces and the trainee aviators aerobatically share the same approach path, despite their different velocities and flight-plans: a choreography of lithe congestion. To put this complexity into a human context, imagine, if you will, a double-booked dance-hall with a jitterbug flash-mob and a full corps de ballet in motion at the same time: “Strictly” meets “Robot Wars” !

But the bees intersect as effortlessly as airbursts in a firework display. It is a wonderful and mesmerising sight. As a two-left-feet dancer myself, I take some consolation from the fact that each bee is equipped with four wings, five eyes and six legs!

And while we’re playing a numbers game, remember: each haiku has 3 lines: of 5 syllables; 7 syllables; 5 syllables in that order. It’s not difficult – here’s one:

Come in, bee haiku,
You are now cleared for landing:
“Hi Honey, I’m home!”


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