Review—Telling The Bees

Telling The Bees


Reviewed by Jay Gilbertson


Many musicians run through the scales to warm up, runners stretch and breathe, writers (well this one anyway) read something. For me, it’s poetry. I get the daily email from my good friend, Garrison Keillor, The Writer’s Almanac, and yet I sometimes need a more specific poem and so I turn to favorite authors.

Author Shearin is just such a poet. She wraps life around her words and weaves them into an art form that brings me to a place of quiet, a starting point to step into story.

A path to follow.

Here is an excerpt from the poem, Telling The Bees.

“…They were loved for the way they made food that tasted like the village itself: its flowers and fields and rains and grief. You told the bees when someone inside your house took ill; it was the bees you consulted when you found yourself pregnant…”

Sure, it’s great to take a walk in the woods to find inspiration, some writers speak of their muse, and how this otherness sits next to them and cheers them on. Still others put on favorite hats, play special music or sit at a certain table in the same coffee house. But there’s nothing like a good poem to get the creative juices bubbling!

“…You served the bees cake before a party and consoled them when your father died. You spoke to the hive, which is mostly feminine: that fat queen and her ladies in waiting, eternally listening in a castle made of wax.”

Everyone should read poetry. Honestly, you should try it. Find an author that speaks to you, take the time to give this less read literary genre an opportunity to change you. It will. Words can do that, unfold your mind, open your heart and bring you into new spaces.

“…And the bees turned the news, all news, to honey—dark or golden, enough for everyone to survive winter, enough to sweeten dreams or tea.”

The best way to enjoy a poem is to read it all in one bite. Even if it goes on for several pages, as some do, get it all down in a single swallow. Consider it a delicious chocolate, a confection with something gooey and delicious and very surprising in the center.

Try this one called Strangers.

“The dog barks at us sometimes if she cannot see us properly. She points her thin head and makes her most vicious sounds and, for a moment, we are strangers: thieves, thugs, muggers. We are not ourselves until her nose finds us beneath our coats and perfume; we are not ourselves until she licks away our disguises.”


  • Poems come in every flavor.
  • C’mon, have a taste.

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