Big in the 80’s

I didn’t know until today
that Bombus Terrestris
was the buff-tailed bumble bee,
but I like the thumping heft of it
and the drawn out hiss.
I will say it often,
find ways to Latin drop.
I will chant it as I chop chives,
it will be the theme song of vacuuming.
Bombus Terrestris
will carry me away.

That buff-tailed bumble bee
on a sprig of bramble blossom
against unreasonably bright blue sky,
‘17p’ printed in black, the Queen’s head in gold.
Cards, cards, and more cards,
all those buff-tailed congratulations –
…..I would say swarming
…..but bumble bees are not hive-minded.
Those stamps were big in 1985.

Dead or Alive were in ‘the charts’-
…..now there’s a phrase that’s not worn well –
you spin me round, like a record, baby,
round and around.
It’s almost a foreign language
words left dangling from obsolete machines.
But that was the song
the first you ever hear with outside ears,
played over and over in Maternity.

The singer’s dead now,
first class post is more than halfway to a pound,
but bees and buzzing spring
still speak of life and energy and wonder.
We love our children
and when they love us back
it still spins us round and round.

Jan Dean

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About Jan Dean

Poet-in-schools
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