Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily: Three Hive Poems by John Cruze. Nicky Westrick and Andrew R. Boettcher

Three poems about honeybees! Or is that what these small but powerful poems (by John Cruze, Nicky Westrick and Andrew R. Boettcher, respectively, all who have been part of my From Draft to Craft Class, part of Thomas More College’s Creative Writing Vision Program) are about at all? I’ll let you decide.


Follow the Honey

the humble bee
has a secret
it can’t keep
from the fragrant
lobes of flowers
that feed the world

in our striving
we deafen ourselves
to the harmony
in the bee’s
sunlit ways and
honey liquid life

John Cruze
Lawrenceburg, IN

Praying for Honey

Someone broke my heart today,
and I remember the summer afternoon
Dad set a watermelon to float in our pond.
We swam alongside it in the warm sun,
a cook-out with friends.
I see it split open upon the table,
a jagged opening of flesh,
seeds spewing from the mouths of children.
I long for the color of zinnias
and small striped bodies of bees
I would hold and press upon my cheek
was not the sting so harsh.

Nicky Westrick, Loveland, OH


Garden State

New Jersey;
garden state.
Blooms and blooms
of condos and apartments.
Red condo,
green condo,
white condo,
blue condo;
repeated plantings.
All the fields seemed
to grow neighborhoods,
Our playgrounds were
the hives
of poured concrete,
rebar, and wood frames.
We smoked cigarettes
the construction workers left,
and threw rocks
at beer bottles
the teenagers left.
The buzz of nicotine,
and the sting of broken glass.
We were restless, and bored
little bees.

Andrew R. Boettcher
Covington, KY
Check out Andrew’s prize winning poem from the Cincinnati Library’s Poetry in the Garden Contest here.



Author: Pauletta Hansel

Pauletta Hansel is a poet, memorist, teacher and editor. She was Cincinnati's first Poet Laureate from April 2-16-March 2018. Pauletta is author of six poetry collections, Plaindrome (Dos Madres Press, 2017; winner of the 2017 Weatherford Award), Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015), The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011), What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011), First Person (Dos Madres Press, 2007) and Divining (WovenWord Press, 2002). Her poetry has been featured recently in journals including Talisman, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Appalachian Journal, Atlanta Review, Postcards Poems and Prose and Still: The Journal, and anthologized in Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia; Motif: Come What May; and Motif: All the Livelong Day. Pauletta leads community poetry workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond, and has served as Writer-in Residence at Thomas More College in her native Kentucky. She is a co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

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