Glutton Before Death: a poem

"He smothers himself in perfumed sugar,/ his last taste,/ before winter's cold and unyielding death."

--poem by me (Lauren Kindle)

detail from "Vase of Flowers" painted by Jan Davidsz. de Heem in 1660

A drunken bumblebee, bloated with pleasure,

drugged with nectar, fat and buried deep

within thick lush petals of a red flower,


she bends down, wantonly past her prime,

wilting shamelessly in the autumn afternoon,

slightly browned and brazen,

blemished and sensual...


He smothers himself in perfumed sugar,

his last taste,

before winter's cold and unyielding death.


Oh bumblebee, I see myself in you!

Were I to sense mortality so near,

Whether on some far-flung future day,

Silver-haired and wise,

Or else some sooner day than that,

Unhappily surprised,

I too might glut myself with sweetness,

Earthly pleasures, too plentiful to taste.


I'd stare at the golden autumn sunlight until my eyes ached,

And breathe the late-blooming rose until I'd faint:


Just one more taste of honey,

Oh, just one more sweet kiss!

The complete painting: "Vase of Flowers."