Care & Lore

(I) Old sacks & rotting rhubarb leaves

those that provide makeshift covers
for their over-wintered hives

should not be surprised to discover
a spring-dwindling in their bees

(after Cheshire)

(II) timing

timing the supering
   of your hive

depends on studying
   which flora thrive

(after Dadant)

(III) place your skep


trees to the north
open to the south


(after Foster)

Edwardes adds that
the south should have
a little east in it
to keep the sun

(IV) set your hives

a valley is preferred
to high land

a gentle slope
southerly if possible

best of all
the sheep-free fields

of a heedless

for the weeds' yield
pleases nectar-seekers

(after Cheshire)

(V) arrange your hives

plumb on stands

  arranged in formation

   Q     I     C     N

       U     N     U     X

as this will aid

   the bees navigation

(after Cheshire)

(VI) the inscrutable bee

they disdain to be near
man’s labours
for reasons unclear

especially the sight of digging
which the bee abhors
in the vicinity of its hives

(after Edwardes)

(VII) down with

down with loggias, porches,
alighting boards, legs, cavity walls
whatnots, antimacassars
& all such forms of Victorianism!

simple things are preferred
to such worthless complications

(after Wadey)

(VIII) heather honey

for heather   high hills

the hives set   on flat stones

south-east   for dawn sun

(after Davies)

(IX) float

buoy your bees
on floated corks
in water-troughs

(after Dadant)

(X) advice on planting

bees prefer
farther flowers

to those

for honey-flowers

wild clover
& above all else
wild mustard


(XI) a rose, a bee

a rose
by bees

a bee
by roses

(after Françon)

(XII) supplement

some pea-flour
carefully sifted

in the trumpets
of crocuses

(after Edwardes)

A. M. Foster, Bee Boles and Bee Houses
Roy A. Grout (ed.), The Hive and the Honey-bee
Frank R. Cheshire, Bees & Beekeeping, Vol. 2
H. J. Wadey, The Bee Craftsman
Tickner Edwardes, Bee-Keeping for All
Andrew Davies, Beekeeping
Julien Françon, The Mind of the Bees