The lavender fields are dotted
with white boxes squat as houses.
In his mesh veil, smoker handy,
hands gloved, he slowly removes
the upright tray patterned in perfect
hexagons of wax, lifting it gently
with a swarm on it as if a painting
come to life to speak of life.
He calls it the sweetness of being.
He explains why the hive spends
every moment of living daylight
to probe the deep scent of purple.
Honey has the taste of wisdom,
the reason I have come at sunset
with a need to know the work of bees,
hoping that just one word of truth
will be enough to satisfy my lips.
He tells me the best honey is love,
born from pleasure and hard work,
spooned upon my fingertip
as we stand at his kitchen table
and sample the labour of a day.
The sun is pressing on the horizon
and reminds me of my promises,
and the amber afterglow of words
I want to carry home and live by
because every waking moment
is spun clean from its beginning
and waits to be released from wax,
a promise freed from sincerity
when it is kept. This is not wisdom,
but the love of knowing its sting.
Bruce Meyer is author or editor of 64 books of poetry, short fiction, flash fiction, and non-fiction. He has had three national bestsellers in Canada, and was 2019 winner of the Anton Chekhov Prize for Fiction (UK) and the Freefall Prize for Poetry. He has recently been a finalist in the Bath Short Story Prize, the National Poetry Competition (UK), the Tom Gallon Trust Fiction Prize, the Carter V. Cooper Prize, and the Thomas Morton Prize for Fiction. He lives in Barrie, Ontario, and teaches at Georgian College and Victoria College at the University of Toronto.