Denise Levertov

Second Didactic Poem

The honey of man is
the task we’re set to:     to be
‘more ourselves’
in the making:
                       ‘bees of the invisible’ working
in cells of flesh and psyche,
           ‘la grande ruche d’or.’   

            the makings of the
                      is carried upon the
corrupt tongues of
mortal insects,
fanned with their wisps of wing
                     ‘to evaporate
excess water,’
                      enclosed and capped
with wax, the excretion
of bees’ abdominal glands.
Beespittle, droppings, hairs
of beefur: all become honey.
Virulent micro-organisms cannot
survive in honey.
                            The taste
the odor of honey:
each has an analogue but itself.
In our gathering, in our containing, in our
working, active within ourselves,
slowly the pale
dew-beads of light
lapped up from flowers
can thicken,
darken to gold:

honey of the human.