Books for Poets | Mailing List | Copyrights | About Us
|








EQUINOX
by Elizabeth Alexander

Now is the time of year when bees are wild
and eccentric. They fly fast and in cramped
loop-de-loops, dive-bomb clusters of conversants
in the bright, late-September out-of-doors.
I have found their dried husks in my clothes.

They are dervishes because they are dying,
one last sting, a warm place to squeeze
a drop of venom or of honey.
After the stroke we thought would be her last
my grandmother came back, reared back and slapped

a nurse across the face. Then she stood up,
walked outside, and lay down in the snow.
Two years later there is no other way
to say, we are waiting. She is silent, light
as an empty hive, and she is breathing.

"Equinox" from Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010. (Graywolf Press)

typing prompt
The autumnal equinox has passed, days are shorter, colors are vivid in nature although they are also fading and perhaps dying, or at least going into a kind of seasonal hibernation.

I saw Elizabeth Alexander's poem "Equinox" on the Academy of American Poets "Teach This Poem" project page. (read and listen to the poet read her poem)

I have written elsewhere about the signs of nature and weather lore are believed by many to signal the change of seasons and act as signs of the weather to come. The changing of the seasons has long interested poets.

In late summer and fall, worker bees work long hours collecting enough nectar to feed and maintain the colony throughout the winter. Most bees stay in the hives all winter, but new queens hibernate alone underground. The former queen, the male bees and the female worker bees fall in autumn, dying out.

In her poem, Alexander writes the bees in late September and their late burst of energy.

Now is the time of year when bees are wild and eccentric.
They fly fast and in cramped
loop-de-loops, dive-bomb clusters of conversants

She writes that the bees are "dervishes because they are dying" but the poem moves on to how Alexander connects this sign from nature to her own world and her grandmother.

Our October prompt is to write about the changing of seasons, but you need to connect it with something outside of nature - perhaps, your life, or something in the news or from history.

Autumn is a lot more than bees. And there are four seasons (and those odd days between seasons) to choose from for your writing.



Deadline for submissions: October 31, 2019

Check our archive of 21 years of prompts and poems, and our blog for much more. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

,