Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HIVES AND HOMES, by PHOEBE CARY

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HIVES AND HOMES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When march has gone with his cruel wind
Last Line: When the summer of life is over.
Subject(s): Bees; Insects; Beekeeping; Bugs

WHEN March has gone with his cruel wind,
That frightens back the swallow,
And the pleasant April sun has shined
Out through her showery clouds, we find
Pale blooms in the wood and hollow.

But after the darling May awakes,
Bedecked with flowers like a fairy;
About the meadows and streams and lakes
She drops them every step she takes,
For she has too many to carry.

And when June has set in the leafy trees
Her bird-tunes all a-ringing,
Wherever a blossom nods in the breeze
The good, contented, cheerful bees
Are found at work and singing.

Ah, the wise little bees! they know how to live,
Each one in peace with his neighbor;
For though they dwell in a narrow hive,
They never seem too thick to thrive,
Nor so many they spoil their labor.

And well may they sing a pleasant tune,
Since their life has such completeness;
Their hay is made in the sun of June,
And every moon is a honeymoon,
And home a home of sweetness.

The golden belts they wear each day
Are lighter than belts of money;
And making work as pleasant as play,
The stings of life they give away,
And only keep the honey.

They are teaching lessons, good and true,
To each idle drone and beauty,
And, my youthful friends, if any of you
Should think (though, of course, you never do)
Of love, and home, and duty --

And yet it often happens, you know,
True to the very letter,
That youths and maidens, when they grow,
Swarm off from the dear old hive and go
To another, for worse or better!

So you'd better learn that this life of ours
Is not all show and glitter,
And skillfully use your noblest powers
To suck the sweets from its poison flowers,
And leave behind the bitter.

But wherever you stay, or wherever you roam,
In the days while you live in clover,
You should gather your honey and bring it home,
Because the winter will surely come,
When the summer of life is over.

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