Poem of the Week: “Orchestra” by Russell Brakefield


Center for Poetry intern Amy Potchen selected this week’s poem, and said this:

This poem is by Russell Brakefield.
I chose this poem while looking into Brakefield’s poetry, since he will be coming to RCAH next month to do a reading. This poem reminds me to see the beauty in Summer’s nature before the season comes to a close. The end of the poem emphasizes that we can learn from bees and the connections they seem to have to each other. I am also intrigued by how frequent the line breaks are, as well as relating the sound of bees to an orchestra.


by Russell Brakefield

Bees sleep
because they need to
like us. Together
a bundle
of bees asleep
at night
is a concertina
wheezing closed.
In the hive
they dance
a democratic dance,
a waltz
to prioritize.
Abdomen wobbles
a whole note.
I read today
some bees feel
the thrum
of electric current
as they encounter
a flower’s field,
which is true
but also
what I need to be— 
social spark,
singing field.

Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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