Wandering down my street the other day, a poem by the great Irish poet YB Yeats came buzzing into my head, for reasons fond enough to me. The young street trees planted by our green-tinged local council, God bless 'em, were coming into bloom, and the bees were voicing their approval loudly and busily.
This is one of them. It's an ivory curl tree, Buckinghamia celsissima, a native tree originally from Queensland, but totally at home here in Sydney. It'll grow to at least twice this size, and when it grows up it should be completely covered in long, white blooms, as many of the older ivory curls in various other streets of our area are right now.
Every single bloom of the row of young ivory curl trees was occupied by two, four or six busy bees. Each bloom is about six to eight inches long. They don't last all that long, probably a month at best, but they're a summer treat nevertheless.
Their happy hum could be heard from some distance away. However, about 18 months ago, one extremely young ivory curl tree attracted more bees than anyone expected...
A swarm, of approximately a zillion or so bees. This large Mardi Gras of bees suddenly appeared one late afternoon, set up quite a din in the ivory curl (which wasn't in flower, as it was late winter) and stayed the night. The next morning, around 10 o'clock, the whole swarm took off at once and flew across our house and off to who knows where, sounding like a low-flying aircraft as it swooped away en masse. Quite inspiring and pleasing, seeing as how it all ended peacefully.
While that memory of the bee swarm came and went, and the happy soundtrack of the much smaller company of bees went about their business the other day, I struggled to remember all of the Yeats poem which I have always loved so much but haven't read for many years, and so here it is.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evenings full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
By William Butler Yeats.