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Our Poem of the Month, in association with Picador

 

Each month we bring you, courtesy of leading poetry publisher Picador, a poem by one of the many talented poets on their list, ranging from first-timers to some of the most widely read poets in the English language. (You can read earlier Poems of the Month by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page.)

Picador logoPicador are one of the UK's foremost publishers of poetry, with a list that features, amongst many others Sean O'Brien, Jackie Kay, Annie Freud, Paul Farley, Ian Duhig, Robin Robertson and Clive James.

The Bees by Carol Ann DuffyThis month's poem comes from perhaps the Cullinan diamond amongst the many jewels in Picador's crown, the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

First published over 40 years ago, Duffy came to wider public attention by winning the Poetry Society National Poetry Competition in 1983. She has gone on to win numerous awards, including the Whitbread Poetry Award, the Forward Prize, the TS Eliot Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award. Her poems now regularly feature on the GCSE and A-Level syllabuses. She was made an OBE in 1995 and a CBE in 2002. In being appointed Laureate in 2009, she achieved the remarkable trifecta of being the first woman, the first Scot and the first openly gay holder of the post.

Our Poem of the Month is taken from her new collection, The Bees, published this month, in which she combines everyday experiences and wilder visions using simple vocabulary woven into elegant patterns.

 

Virgil's Bees

 

Bless air's gift of sweetness, honey
from the bees, inspired by clover,
marigold, eucalyptus, thyme,
the hundred perfumes of the wind.
Bless the beekeeper

                                        who chooses for her hives
a site near water, violet beds, no yew,
no echo. Let the light lilt, leak, green
or gold, pigment for queens,
and joy be inexplicable but there
in harmony of willowherb and stream,
of summer heat and breeze,

                                                     each bee's body
at its brilliant flower, lover-stunned,
strumming on fragrance, smitten.

                                                               For this,
let gardens grow, where beelines end,
sighing in roses, saffron blooms, buddleia;
where bees pray on their knees, sing, praise
in pear trees, plum trees; bees
are the batteries of orchards, gardens, guard them.

 

© Carol Ann Duffy 2011

 

Previous Poems of the Month

September: Cassandra by Glyn Maxwell

August: Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins

July: The Hum by Rachael Boast

 

Other poetry books by Carol Ann Duffy

The Twelve Poems of Christmas: Volume...
(Booklet or Pamphlet)
Carol Ann Duffy
 
Delivery:
 
£4.95
 
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£4.95
 
Another Night Before Christmas
(Hardback)
Carol Ann Duffy
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£5.99
 
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£5.99
 

Stores - out of stock

Mrs Scrooge: A Christmas Tale
(Hardback)
Carol Ann Duffy
 
Delivery:
 
£5.99
 
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£5.99
 
Selling Manhattan
(Paperback)
Carol Ann Duffy
 
Delivery:
 
£7.95
 
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£7.95
 

Stores - out of stock

Standing Female Nude
(Paperback)
Carol Ann Duffy
 
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£8.95
 
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£8.95
 
Time's Tidings: Greeting the...
(Paperback)
Carol Ann Duffy
 
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£7.95
 

Currently out of stock

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£7.95
 

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£9.99
 
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£9.99
 
Feminine Gospels
(Paperback)
Carol Ann Duffy
 
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£9.99
 
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£9.99
 
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The Other Country
(Paperback)
Carol Ann Duffy
 
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£8.99
 
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The World's Wife
(Paperback)
Carol Ann Duffy
 
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Rapture
(Paperback)
Carol Ann Duffy
 
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£9.99
 
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New Selected Poems: 1984-2004
(Paperback)
Carol Ann Duffy
 
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£14.99
 
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£14.99
 
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