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Poster poems: bees

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Many poets have hymned the giant impact of these miniature creatures – now it’s time for you to get busy

It’s a startling fact that one third of everything we eat depends on the presence of the humble bee for its existence. Without bees, a whole range of food crops, from almonds to watermelons, would simply stop producing. If the trend of the last decade or so that has seen bee populations decline– as a consequence of disease, pesticide use and other environmental factors – were to continue, food supplies would collapse and prices would soar, resulting in a crisis as great as any we have ever experienced.

These gloomy thoughts were triggered as I read Alex Finlay’s recent book-length bee poem Global Oracle. The poem encompasses many of the important roles that bees have played in human culture, from their association with the oracle at Delphi to their place in rural weather lore. As I read the book, I was also struck by how often bees have appeared in poetry down the centuries.

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