(This Life) Part 6: The Bee Keeper’s Daughter

unique lives and friendships – each to be appreciated and nurtured

In John’s lounge on the mantlepiece

A picture sits; a girl dressed in bees,

Smiling, seemingly the cluster’s queen,

Arms outstretched, a candy in each hand,

Directing their gravitational spin.


“She’s a special one, she is,” John says,

“Hadn’t been for her, never been a keeper,

Never had these seventeen hives.”


We’d met at The Plough, I holding court

On microgeneration,

And he overhearing joined in,

Biodiversity his thing,

And over Shere Drop we bonded.


“Mandy,” he says. “She’ll be here soon.

Wouldn’t think she was deaf and blind.

Remember the wee bairn mewling,

Unresponsive to our cooing,

And then the diagnosis,

Both Sue and me lost, unknowing,

Not knowing where, to whom to turn.

But we were helped, taught patiently,

Learnt how to teach, colour her world,

Hand under hand, love transmitted,

Guiding her, touch by touch growing

Into a life truly substantial.


Four she was when, in the garden,

We saw her beneath the lavender,

Fingers climbing, feeling stem and flower,

Her delight as she was infused,

The perfumed heads bending, crowning,

And then the bees descending, gentle,

One by one caressing, clustering,

Encircling her as their own.

Never seen the like!” He wipes a tear.


A door opens, closes, a strong tread

Marches up the hall behind us.

She enters, sure, tall,

                               in her wake the world

                                                               Waiting to be conquered.

Sensing me stops, smiles,

                                      Signals to her father,

Who laughing translates:

                                   “She says, she’s definitely the queen,

                                    Mistress of her unique domain.”


We sit long tracing the night sky;

I leave enriched, new friendships made,

bearing gifts of her own-branded honey.

© Bhi 2023
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