Bees – no human revolution has ever produced anything as good


Bees are eusocial – meaning their life is ordered for the benefit of everyone in the hive. Human society is largely anti-social. A kleptocracy.

Words: Heathcote Williams. Video and Narration: Alan Cox


Wise bees will tell you:
“Natura in minima
Maxima” – kindly
Translating it
As “Nature is the greatest
In the smallest things.”

Bees’ making life sweet
Made man’s harsh evolution
More tolerable.

Almost each mouthful
Of food owes its existence to
Pollinating bees.

It’s been said, “If bees
Disappear, man has only
A few years to live.”

Bees are eusocial –
Meaning their life is ordered
For the benefit
Of everyone in
The hive: construction workers,
Nurses, guards, grocers,
Foragers, and gigolos
And undertakers.

Man’s society
Is largely anti-social.
A kleptocracy.

Man, who steals from bees,
Repays them with pesticide
Yet they dance to work.

Emma Goldman said
That all revolutions should
Involve dancing, but

No revolution
Has produced anything
As good as bees
And Tolstoy believed
They’d devised the ideal
Society for man.

No society
Has a talisman with the
Power of honey.

One ounce of honey
Enables a bee to fly
Round the whole world.

If bees’ stamina
Is scaled up to human level,
Man is quite outclassed.

A bee beats its wings
Over eleven thousand
Times in a minute.

Its brain’s a cubic
Millimetre whose wiring
Beats silicon chips.

A bee, said Karl Marx,
Can “put architects to shame
In constructing cells.”

The bee’s venom is
The most powerful substance
In the natural world.

Bee acupuncture
Can extend man’s lifespan by
Curing arthritis.

A bee’s venom can
Open up neural pathways,
Following a stroke.

Honey can dress wounds –
Since microbes can’t live in it,
It’s antiseptic.

Alexander the
Great was embalmed in honey
And lasted decades.

In Ephesus, bees
Would symbolize Artemis,
And stood for wisdom.

So Pythagoras, Achilles
And Plato were fed honey
In their infancy.

The “gift of heaven”
Virgil called it and,
In his Georgics,
He said it conveyed
Prescience; and the priestess
At Delphi was called

The ‘Delphic Bee’ as
Her powers were oracular:
She saw the future.

Before Chernobyl
Was understood, bees
Wisely stayed in their hives.

The priest Jonathan,
In 1 Samuel 14,
Would take some honey

From a honeycomb
Then, “as his hand met his mouth,
His eyes were enlightened.”

The letters in the
Poet Deborah’s Hebrew name,
Dbr, means bee;

It also means truth –
Both being on a mission
To improve the world
With sweetness and light –
For if reason’s sweet
Why pull a sour face?

Bees have made honey
For 150 million years
And the Pyramids,
When rediscovered,
Showed that honey had been placed
Near Pharoah’s body –
An immortal food
Which still tasted good after
Five thousand years.

Bees defend themselves
Without paying someone else
To do it for them.

Bees’ flower power
Is not a drug-enhanced dream:
Their flying’s for real.

‘Where the bee sucks there
Suck I, in a cowslip’s bell
I lie.’ Paradise!

The buzzing of bees
Indicating contentment
Is archetypal:
The soundtrack to the
Land of milk and honey, man’s
Sustaining ideal.

Each bee has five eyes.
Mystics reckon a third eye
Bestows occult powers.

Five eyes could give you
The ability to see
Some things that man can’t.

The sound which bees make
Triggers the production of nectar in flowers.
It can also pollinate the human brain.

“People love bees”, said
St John Chrysostom,
“Not because they work

But because they work for others.”
They’re formed by nature to be altruistic,
To be aware of the common good.


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