|Solinus, on the authority of Camden,
incontrovertibly declares that there are no bees in Ireland.
Keating impugns both Camden and Solinus
stating Such is the quantity of bees,
that they are found not only in hives,
but even in the trunks of trees, and in holes in the ground.
Modomnoc the beekeeper, who was with St David in Wales,
was followed to Ireland by an adoring swarm of bees.
Writing in the 8th century, Bede the so-called Venerable
opines Hibernia … et salubritate ac serenitate aerum
… Diues lactis ac mellis insula … Or, so Google tells us,
Ireland has a fine climate, and is a land rich in milk and honey.
In 1920 Benedictine Brother Adam hybridized the Buckfast Bee.
According to The Economist in 1996 Brother Adam was
unsurpassed as a breeder of bees. He talked to them,
he stroked them. He brought to the hives a calmness that,
according to who saw him work, the sensitive bees responded to.
The Buckfast Bee – Brother Adam’s supreme though far
from only achievement as a breeder – is super-productive,
extremely fecund, resistant to disease and disinclined to swarm.
However, it cannot perform miracles.
Good St Bega could. She fled Ireland for Northumbria,
away from enforced marriage to a Norwegian Prince.
There she founded the still-extant Cumbrian coastal village
of St Bees, pop 1,717 according to the census of 2001.
Sometime after, although not too long after, 850AD, St Bega,
to gain the land on which to build her priory
from the goading Lord Egremont, made it snow
three inches deep on Midsummer’s Day. Yes, she made
it snow three inches deep on Midsummer’s Day,
dispossessing Lord Egremont, as well as, presumably,
seriously upsetting the bees as a consequence.
Bees and the Authorities is © Dave Lordan, from Lost Tribe Of The Wicklow Mountains
About Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains
‘It may be said, in truth, that he changed his manner almost for every work that he executed’, Vasari said of Di Cosimo, and in Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains Dave Lordan’s poems embrace a wide range of formal and vocal possibilities. Internationally renowned as one of the most inventive and provocative of Ireland’s contemporary performance poets, Lordan reinforces that position in this new collection. There are also poems here that demand a quieter hearing, however, including a long and powerful elegy for Denis Boothman and an urgent meditation on the scourge of suicide in Irish society. The anger that often characterized the poems of Lordan’s first two collections is transformed in Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains into profound explorations and expressions of loss, love and hope – ‘music as a possible sanctity’.
Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains is Dave Lordan’s 3rd collection of poetry and will be published shortly by Salmon Poetry.