"My mother was like the bees" by Jeanne Wagner (American Life in Poetry)

Good day readers, I have returned from New Zealand and while I sort out my own ideas, thought I would start the week off with Ted Kooser’s pick…. Enjoy!

American Life in Poetry: Column 366
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

I don’t think we’ve ever published a poem about a drinker. Though there are lots of poems on this topic, many of them are too judgmental for my liking. But here’s one I like, by Jeanne Wagner, of Kensington, California, especially for its original central comparison.

My mother was like the bees

because she needed a lavish taste
on her tongue,
a daily tipple of amber and gold
to waft her into the sky,
a soluble heat trickling down her throat.
Who could blame her
for starting out each morning
with a swig of something furious
in her belly, for days
when she dressed in flashy lamé
leggings like a starlet,
for wriggling and dancing a little madly,
her crazy reels and her rumbas,
for coming home wobbly
with a flicker of clover’s inflorescence
still clinging to her clothes,
enough to light the darkness
of a pitch-black hive.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2010 by Jeanne Wagner from her most recent book of poetry, “In the Body of Our Lives,” Sixteen Rivers Press, 2010. Poem reprinted by permission of Jeanne Wagner and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2012 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

American Life in Poetry ©2006 The Poetry Foundation
Contact: alp@poetryfoundation.org
This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

2 thoughts on “"My mother was like the bees" by Jeanne Wagner (American Life in Poetry)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s