• Gordon MacLellan

Buzzing full of words

Buzzing full of words,

creative moments on a garden bench

The garden has claimed you. You sit now, quietly, to watch those first bumblebees foraging hopefully through your first flowers, and you resolve to plant more of this, trim less of that, sit here again tomorrow and see who, what comes a’buzzing by then.

For now, enjoy that early spring sense of things being poised: a warm season full of life about to erupt with buds opening, ferns unfurling, celandines waving sun-discs in the grass. Give yourself a gentle challenge. Now. With a paper or a postcard and a pencil (or your notebook if you picked up on our journal blog earlier), watch a bumblebee perhaps and write your observations into a poem.

Poetry can give people problems: so many school challenges there and demands for rhyme and rhythm or more rhyme but no rhythm or…or….”I just don’t like it”. With so many of us stepped back, stepped down, this could be a good time to gently reconnect with your own creativity and with the world around you. You might plant seeds, dig flowerbeds, walk the dog, exercise the children, walk the parents, but it is good to simply stop as well. Try just stopping and looking. Writing or sketching can be a way of encouraging yourself to stay there on the kitchen chair, on the bench, in the deckchair on the grass. Challenge yourself. Poetry invites us to play with words, to enjoy communication. Here are two quick poetry forms to try, neither expects rhymes so don’t worry. They both work as spoken verses so try writing then reading aloud before going back to the written words again.


Yes, everyone does these at school. One of those poetry shapes that feel like it has been hunted to extinction (until you read The Lost Words when you realise acrostics are alive and well)…who cares! Have a go.

Choose your subject and write its name vertically down the left hand side of a page. Now use each letter of that name to start a line in your poem….lines might feed into one another, growing a story as you go or they might be individual observations around the subject plant or animal. Just have a go….


Under leaves where

Mouse nests

Become havens,

Lairs for lost queens

Escaping the winter’s sleep to

Become the mothers of

Every bee we’ll see,

Every bumbling buzz we’ll hear.


Or try counting syllables. Cinquains fit bumblebee lives really well. A cinquain has 5 lines, each line having a set number of syllables.

2 Lone queen

4 Builds the first cells,

6 Raises the first workers,

8 Lays the egg that gives next year’s new

2 Queen bee.

Working outdoors with children, we found that the syllables bit didn’t really translate as 6 years old took it as 2-things, 4-things and so on, building their cinquains as patterns of treasures they found on the ground. Accepting this, we then took their collected findings to give us recipes: ingredients for a woodland perhaps, or a garden, or for a witch’s potion….

Take two flakes of birch bark

And 4 grey stones,

Beech-mast husks bring a bitter taste

But don’t let anything go to waste,

As you add twigs, finger bones from a poisoner’s death

Soak it all into eyebrows of moss

And serve….

Have a go.

Recite your writing to your family, or a friend at a distance, or to the bumblebees. And please send it to us!


Or CelebrationEarth on Facebook

Ffi: visit ourfriends at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust for more bumble-info

Artwork: the photos in this post are all by Gordon MacLellan

Bumblebees in clover is a section from a painting by Ruth Evans whose work can be seen at The Hedgerow Gallery

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