National Insect Week Poetry Challenge: Join Amanda Bonnick, Yvonne Marjot, Zachary Bos, Debbie Strange, Denzel Xavier Scott, Martyn Crucefix, Anjum Wasir Dar, Tucker Lieberman, Alan Toltzis, Gregory Luce and myself. Yesterday, Monday: Dragonflies, Tuesday: Wasps And Bees. Tomorrow, Wednesday: Ants, Thursday: Beetles, Friday: Butterflies, Saturday: Moths, Sunday: Flies. Email me and I will add yours to my daily wordpress posts, also posted to Twitter. Here’s todays : Wasps and Bees

Tuesday: Wasps and Bees


Bee by Debbie Strange

I inhale
and my lungs fill up
with bees
though all hope is lost
there is still this hum

Hedgerow Poems 100, Dec/16

-Debbie Strange

the argument
escalates all night
inside me
these paper-thin walls
only meant for wasps

tanka published in Wild Voices, April 2017

-Debbie Strange

for David Rosenberg

Stumble clumsily into the beckoning
necks of honeysuckle days.
Sip their nectar.
Swallow powdery pollen.
Waggle. . . A little this way.
A little that.
and electrify the air.

-Alan Toltzis

Hanging Out the First Washing of the Year

Over the rush-hour
there’s a hum –
I look up to see
many, mellow bumblebees
a community of bumblebees
a chorus of bumblebees
gathering pollen
from the catkins
of the self-seeded tree

-Lauren M. Foster

Slaughter of Queens

Swarmstorm in August
kicks dusty sunlight through trees,
shifting. Suddenly free,
bee cloud hums a summer warning.

Drenched in the feminine,
subsumed to queens,
drones wait.

Hidden sisters
pipe to each other
while implacable heat melts
even the honey.

Located, stings raised to duel,
virgin solidarity is discarded.
Only one triumphant.
As dying wings twitch,
Regina absoluta reigns
over her useful, doomed brothers.

-Amanda Bonnick

Chelsea Flower Show Massacre 1 Mark FiddesThe Chelsea Flower Massacre Mark Fiddes 2

-Mark Fiddes

Live and Let Live in the Garden

There’s a bustle in the foxgloves,
white-tailed queen
bumbling in and out of poppies.
That excited keen:
buzz pollination
for pollen saturation.

Small humming cousin,
worker carder bee
calm in her fur coat,
busy busy busy
stitching my garden together
flower after flower.

Beside my back door
I hear, as I walk about,
a steady hum from the eaves,
wasps ducking in and out.
A nest in my roof space, I’d say.
A problem for another day.

– ©YMarjot for #NationalInsectWeek @PaulDragonwolf1

The ant the spider and the bee

I wonder which is best of the three
If I see the qualities of insects three,
all are unique company
each created superb in structure
form color shape and ability

All three have the sting, a
security weapon against the enemy
the ant has a hill the spider a web,
and hive is for the bee
all three industrious, restless,
focused, productive in unity

a pleasure to observe, a treasure to know,
a gift to enjoy nature creates miracles for
the benefit of mankind, a pity, if spiders ants
and bees are killed, no honey, a cause to cry;

I wonder if I were an ant what a tiny
creature I would be even if I were a spider,
even then very frail and thin I would be
Ah but if I were a bee, then I would be

the strongest of the three –

Then perhaps I choose to be not a spider, ant, but rather a bee’

-anjum wasim dar

August Afternoon

Bees tunnel the flowering mint
as flies fill the air like buzzing smoke.
From my chair I survey
the twin Empires of the Sandbox:
On one side the Dinosaur King,
age four, arranges his subjects
for review. On the other
the three-year-old construction
magnate intently mills sand.
A Mourning Cloak glides over
the sandbox and settles
on a spray of yarrow
and rests undisturbed.

-Gregory Luce

The Difference Between Bees & Wasps

A bee knocks at the door,
coughs shy and polite,
whispers its bee name,
has an afternoon snooze
after a very hard morning
playing Sergeant Wilson
to a geranium’s Mrs Pike.

A wasp smashes your window
with its buzzsaw hairdo,
spits in your kitchen,
gets pissed on cider
he nicked from your fridge
(which he opened himself)
then picks fights with your family.

A bee lives high on honey
in the close company
of its bosombuddy clan,
among branches and leaves.
Says thankyou and please
and in unbusy moments
hands change to the homeless.

A wasp lives for pain –
others’, not its own,
it gets off on tears.
Takes pocketmoney from kids
to buy itself beer.
Each sting-strung knuckle
is tattooed HATE.

A bee dreams paintings
of amber haywains,
of nature’s cure for all,
and of sunkissed plains.
A wasp dreams of jackboots,
goose stepping, saluting,
of nights French kissing
Vladimir Putin.

Bees are:
bumbling, benign,
beatific, bewitching,
benevolent, busy
butterballed and bonny.

Wasps are wassocks

-Harry Gallagher

Cheryl Barnes Stung

-Cheryl Barnes

Bee 1

Lunch Break
Sat drinking coffee and watching
a bee manoeuvre himself into a tiny hole
in the cement between the bricks,
casually brushing the dust from his sides,
like someone wiping their feet
returning home from a morning’s work.

I picture him reclining
in the cool darkness with his wings up
whilst all the other bees diligently go about
in the noon heat – their minds
on work work work.

Finally he reappears and with slow lazy waggle
pulls back into the traffic of the courtyard.
As I get up, I tip my cup
to this little bee after my own heart.

-Tom Harding

lockdown morning
the coffee blossoms
buzzing with bees

Frogpond Spring 2020, Issue 43.2

-Christina Chin

Sonnet: “Mud Daubers, Marsh Chapel, Boston”

for CEH

Outside the stained-glass window, wasps labor
on the stone lintel, building wombs. Lance-tip
jaws champ soil into mortar. Vibrissae

smooth and shape. Inside each clay pipe is hid
a chain of sealed cells; inside each cell, one
meal of paralyzed spider. Bone-white eggs

wait for the right moment to burst open,
black-bodied and blue-winged. New made. Even
I could transform my life, maybe. Become

a simple kind of saint—the sort who leaves
ripe fruit on the stone ledge for the tiny
brutal masons. They will chew away these

raw rags, to show thanks; bring dust in their mouths
to beatify and reflesh my bones.

– –

This poem appears in the Pentecost 2019 issue of Dappled Things journal.

-Zachary Bos


I saw a dog’s corpse
on the side of the road
tossed beneath hydrangea bushes,
with fur painted by
dust and clotted blood
and feet caught
up in rigor mortis,
as if still racing
toward mischievous squirrels.

What I thought were
maggots turned out
to be caterpillars,
and what I presumed were
flies darting
were bees.

They took to the flowers,
thoughtlessly accepting
the macabre perfume.

-Denzel Xavier Scott


The honeycomb pockets round out
as deep and cold as the moon,
filled—now that summer’s ending—with more honey
than any hiveful of wings ever aspired to make.
It is dream honey with something called fat,
stiffened by ice and a puff of air.

My bee-vision catches it:
dozens of colors and flavors,
pollen and black stripe,
butter, caramel,
hibiscus and the hummingbird within,
the strawberry in the field.
Ice cream is for me.
The reason I crawl behind the glass is
finally to know:
if I can pick only one,
if my body will stick to the surface,
if I must die on that hill,
which one?

Time slows—
The freezer is vast enough for moons—
My wings do not hum—
(Even in summer,
something inside us pulls toward the winter
we cannot survive.)
I choose strawberry—
Face first, feelers, frost—
There is a meaning of life,
and it is—

Bee Safe

Cut eyeholes in an old bucket.
Stuck an old welder’s visor

on the eyeholes. Stuffed and taped
an ancient towel under the rim.

Got my mate to tape welder’s gloves
to my thick jacket and my wellingtons

to jogging bottoms. Put bucket on my head.
Mate stuck it to my jacket. I struggled

through the small hole. Cost a packet
for radiation suited cocker
to remove a hive from out of our roof.

I’m sure all bees are gone. Couldn’t hear them.
Couldn’t bloody breathe, my visor misted up.

-Paul Brookes

Bio and Links

-Tucker Lieberman

is the author of Ten Past Noon: Focus and Fate at Forty, a biography of an early 20th-century writer. His poems can be found in Animal Heart, The Fruit Tree, Little Dog, Quatrain Fish, Raven Review, and Snakeskin. He flits around Bogotá, Colombia with the science fiction novelist Arturo Serrano and eats ice cream.

-Gregory Luce,

author of Signs of Small Grace, Drinking Weather, Memory and Desire, Tile, and Riffs & Improvisations (forthcoming from Kelsay Books), has published widely in print and online. He is the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In addition to poetry, he writes a monthly column on the arts for Scene4 magazine. He is retired from National Geographic, works as a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC, and lives in Arlington, VA.

-Harry Gallagher

is widely published, his most recent books being Northern Lights (2017) and Running Parallel (2019). His next book ‘Moulded From Ferrous – Selected Early Works’ is due out in the autumn from Black Light Engine Room Press. Harry runs the Tyne & Wear stanza of the Poetry Society.”

-Amanda Bonnick

is a Worcester writer and is currently Poet in Residence for Worcester Cathedral (2019/20). She is also a producer, director and actor with Melting Pot Theatre Company. She has co-hosted the Word and Sound open mic event and has performed her poetry at Parole Parlate, SpeakEasy, Licensed to Rhyme, and Stirchley Speaks spoken word events. She has recently published her poetry pamphlet ‘Pick Your Own’ with Worcester’s Black Pear Press and her work has appeared in anthologies ‘Voices of 1919’ (by Mike Alma), ‘Ripples’ by Jackie Summer, and several small presses (Envoi, Fire, Critical Survey, Agenda)

-Denzel Xavier Scott

is a semi-closeted black queer writer who earned his BA in English from The University of Chicago and received his Writing MFA at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in his hometown of Savannah, GA.
His prose and poetry appear in various literary magazines: Rattle, Empty Mirror, Spillway, decomP, both Euphony Journal and Blacklight Magazine of the University of Chicago, Linden Avenue, 3Elements Review, Cortland Review, Louisville Review, Random Sample Review, HIV Here and Now, a project of Indolent Books, and many others.

Denzel Scott is a past recipient of the University of Chicago’s prestigious Summer Arts Council Fellowship Grant. In September 2018, he became one of the winners of Writer Relief’s Peter K Hixson Memorial Prize.
His twitter link is: He’s a friendly, enthusiastic tweeter.

-Christina Chin

is from Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. Recently she won two of City Soka Saitama’s 2020 prizes. She is the 1st place winner of the 34th Annual Cherry Blossom Sakura
Festival 2020 Haiku Contest hosted by University of Alabama’s
Capstone International Center. Her photo-haiku won a Grand Prix Award in the 8th Setouchi Matsuyama International Contest in 2019. She is published in the multilingual Haiku Anthology (Volumes 3-5) and the International Spring Saijiki. Christina is published in Haikukai (俳句界) one of Japan’s biggest monthly haiku magazines. Her poems appear in many journals including AHS Frogpond Journal, the Red Moon Anthology, Akitsu Quarterly Journal, The Asahi Shimbun, ESUJ-Haiku, Presence, Chrysanthemum, The Cicada’s Cry, The Zen Space, Wales Haiku Journal, Prune Juice, Failed Haiku and Cattails (UHTS).
You can find Christina Chin online at WordPress: She also maintains an ongoing scheduled blog of featured and published haiku:

7 thoughts on “National Insect Week Poetry Challenge: Join Amanda Bonnick, Yvonne Marjot, Zachary Bos, Debbie Strange, Denzel Xavier Scott, Martyn Crucefix, Anjum Wasir Dar, Tucker Lieberman, Alan Toltzis, Gregory Luce and myself. Yesterday, Monday: Dragonflies, Tuesday: Wasps And Bees. Tomorrow, Wednesday: Ants, Thursday: Beetles, Friday: Butterflies, Saturday: Moths, Sunday: Flies. Email me and I will add yours to my daily wordpress posts, also posted to Twitter. Here’s todays : Wasps and Bees

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