A queen mistook the dimness of our house,
but rescued with a glass and cardboard
she nested in the kitchen steps
where we passed by a dozen times a day,
and her furry children zigzagged out
to the bean rows in the garden,
the peas and plums and brambles,
the wild strawberry cascading down the wall.
Black sisters, fumbling white clovers in the pasture
or the purple heather on the moor,
they droned home bulked with pollen,
unloaded, flew another mission,
though the cat lay in wait to bat them,
and the swallows swooped on them,
and our grandchild tried to stroke them
when we barged through their busy airways.
They never stung. At the summer’s end
they just fell, all spent, leaving
one queen to autumn, winter, spring.
Yes, we might still have had a harvest
without their peaceful help; but only of a sort.
Sue Millard's poetry collection, Ash Tree, is available from Prole Books and her novels can be found via her web site, Jackdaw E Books.