The Bees
by Grant Clauser

First the bees disappeared
and the apple blossoms failed
to understand, so fell away
blown across the field.

The rivers shrank.  Dry algae
like dead skin, flaked off rocks.
Catfish settled into the mud
crusting over the roots
of weeping willows.

When milk stopped flowing
the mothers cried and everyone
noticed how quiet
the marsh had become.

We gathered the last books together
and told the children
to close their eyes
so they wouldn’t see
what was coming.


Grant Clauser makes his living in Pennsylvania as a technology
writer for
Electronic House.  His poems have appeared in The
Literary Review
, Painted Bride Quarterly, Cortland Review,
Wisconsin Review, and others.  In 2010, he was named the
Montgomery County Poet Laureate by Robert Bly, and his first
The Trouble with Rivers, was published in 2012.  
Clauser runs the Montco Wordshop, teaches poetry writing at
Philadelphia’s Musehouse Writing Center, and maintains a blog

On “The Bees”:
This started while I was working on an article for a dermatology
magazine about the health benefits of honey.  I came upon
references to the declining bee population and how that’s a sign
of larger ecosystem decay.  I wanted to carry that idea further,
to speculate on what would happen after the bees disappeared.  
I didn’t answer that question, but I wanted to infuse the poem
with some doom, and I tried by using images I thought would
help make those connections: mother’s milk showing our
dependency on natural processes, a lack of books to illustrate a
decline of thoughtful dialog.  I guess it’s a bit of an allegorical
poem in that way, but I hope not too heavy-handed.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 7, Number 2
(Fall 2012)

Copyright © 2012
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.