Bewildered by Susan McLean


The lilacs are confused. They don’t remember:
has winter come and gone now? No, a drought
has crisped their leaves like piecrust. Some, in doubt,
hold out flambeaux of blossom in September.

Their swoony fragrance pierces like remorse.
Did we not let them frizzle in the sun?
And now they’ve come deliriously undone,
throwing bouquets out as a last recourse.

The bees, too, seem bedazzled. A fall swarm
has settled on our pine. To leave their hive
this late means they’re unlikely to survive
the winter. Hurriedly, while it’s still warm,

we call a beekeeper, who nabs their queen
and lures them to a nucleus box. He’ll bring
it home and feed them sugar till next spring.
They’d die if someone didn’t intervene.

And us? The patterns change and we’re dismayed.
As glaciers melt, lakes dry, and species die,
we flinch and look away from reasons why,
trapped in a minefield we ourselves have laid.

by Susan McLean

Editor’s Note: This poem is an interesting blend of beautiful imagery and sonics and grim narrative. It’s odd how humans can create such beauty amidst destruction.


2 responses to “Bewildered by Susan McLean”

  1. Dave Williams Avatar
    Dave Williams

    Highly effective use of a string of abba stanzas like I’ve never seen before, including regular but interesting iambic pentameter. Too many great examples to list, but “come deliriously undone” and ‘bring / spring’ sandwiched between ‘queen / intervene!’ And then the implosive conclusion. The world probably does not deserve poetry this good, but it needs it.

  2. crsunde Avatar

    A fine blend of rich content and form. How interesting and lovely.

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