Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"The Birds and the Bees" by David Pring-Mill

The Birds and the Bees
David Pring-Mill

The beauty is so great that I laugh.
This quiet street of old houses is baked by sun.
As a raving pedestrian I see the yellows,
big yellow and purple and red,
The extravagant claims
of all these flowering plants; Yet I was here
in winter, in autumn’s ash.
Plants and nature were here also,
hiding her beauty. And only now it emerges.

And it’s like a joke, thinking it was there the whole time,
there when I marched by and allowed this idea
that cloudy skies may have impact upon me.
And this is love, this is our love,
The world of loneliness is the same world
as the world of love! When in sorrow,
the joy is there waiting to bloom.
Love is hidden. How could it come out to inspire
when there is no light to inspire its growth and rebirth?
Life was made from the Sun, and as diverse copies
of its luster, we are creators of our own light.

And so I trust in these dynamics.
And I will not shrink
before the world,
and I will not shrink the world
down to a manageable safety.

A red-breasted bird sings
and I wonder how his song came to be, 
if the bird first learned and practiced his music 
because he wanted to create 
something beautiful.
And then,
by conducting a melody 
before love was ever known,
this bird discovered 
beauty attracts more beauty.
This bird discovered 
love is not expectation, but faith.
And faith provides its own realization.

And when this bird accepted his song 
deeply within a feathered heart, when he felt
the fullness of notes escaping
past the sharpness of his beak, 
he also felt a bounce in the branch 
beneath his stars of toes
and saw a new companion at his side.

And do you realize the relationship
between bees and flowers?
Bees enjoy the sweet nectar
and loving what they love makes it more abundant.
They are not laborious, when they are going
from flower to flower in pollination.
They are landing on new petals for fulfillment,
the giving and receiving is unified,
and in this way don’t they show us
the purest kind of love?

In these flowers
and in great love I realize
the fulfillment of simple things,
once buried in sight.

Poet’s Notes:  “The Birds and the Bees” is thematically connected to some of my previous Songs of Eretz publications, namely “Atop the Hill, Where We Laughed Together” http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2016/03/poem-of-day-atop-hill-where-we-laughed.html, “Love as an Act of Faith” http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2016/12/love-as-act-of-faith-by-david-pring.html, and “My Only Affection” http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2016/04/poem-of-day-my-only-affection-by-david.html. These poems all depict an internal transformation that has love as its provocation.

This poem could also be seen as the inversion of “Adulation” http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2016/12/adulation-by-david-pring-mill-frequent.html. In “Adulation”, the reader witnesses the destructive effects of superficial love: a musical performer succumbs to substance abuse in front of an audience lacking in empathy. In “The Birds and the Bees”, the sincerity of love is restorative and fulfilling.

The narrator’s perspective on the world clearly shifts from seasonal affective disorder to unapologetic awe. There are many poetic angles from which love can be examined, but I’m particularly interested in that intersection between philosophical perspective and romantic feeling. 

Editor’s Note:  This is a masterpiece, perhaps the best I've seen from David.  I particularly enjoy the way the narrative leads the reader to realize that love is always present even when unseen.  The birds and bees conceit is perfectly executed, illustrating examples while creating the larger metaphor that unifies the piece.  

My favorite part of the poem, although it is difficult to pick a favorite part, occurs in the last two lines of the second stanza.  Some may argue that it is cliché to say we are made of star stuff, but then to go on to show how every individual is in effect his or her own star--THAT is really good poetry.  

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful poem. I especially like the idea that the bare ground of winter contains the flowers of summer. Just as, "When in sorrow, / the joy is there waiting to bloom." I also like the idea that when a bee goes from flower to flower, his act of giving and receiving are unified--perfected. Like perfect love.

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