Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE HISTORY OF HONEY, by NATHALIA CRANE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE HISTORY OF HONEY, by                
First Line: The history of honey' by an aged mandarin
Last Line: And he got the ancient essence of the very sweetest things.
Subject(s): Honey

"THE History of Honey"—by an aged mandarin,
And I bought it for the pictures of the burnished bees therein.

For the dainty revelations, masquerading up and down,
For the odor of the sandalwood that talked of China-town.

According to the mandarin, the Oriental bees
Were the first to hoard their honey in the mountain cavities.

In the ages of antiquity, each summer afternoon,
They flew in golden convoys to the mountains of the moon.

And there, in caves by cataracts, where nothing could annoy,
Poured gallons in the caverns when Confucius was a boy.

Many mountains bulged with honey stored before the days of Ming,
From each crevice dripped the essence of a very precious thing.

Imprisoned in this honey, aging as the æons wane,
Are the souls of all the flowers, waiting to be born again:

Every lotus, every poppy, every tulip, every rose.
And those who sip the honey slip beyond all human woes,

Dream again of youth's digressions, index misty ways of joy,
Turn unto the pagan pastimes of Confucius—as a boy.

Doubtless there are yet secreted some divine distilleries
Overflowing with the wonder worth a dozen dynasties.

But the mandarin, he made no map, contented in old age
To draw the clinging love scenes of the bees on every page.

There he found an inspiration antedating all the Mings,
And he got the ancient essence of the very sweetest things.

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