Wild Bees [poem by Louis Esson]

[Editor: This poem by Louis Esson was published in Bells and Bees: Verses (1910).]

Wild Bees

At peep o’ dawn, when the world is still,
Hear the magpies calling!
We leave our hut upon the hill,
Hear the magpies calling!
The soil’s unbroken by the plough
From gully deeps to ranges’ brow;
Primeval peace enfolds us now,
Hear the magpies calling!

We wander, in the morning’s hush,
Hear the magpies calling!
Thro’ flowery tracks and golden bush,
Hear the magpies calling!
The yellow box is blossoming,
Round the blossoms greedy parrots cling,
And reiving bees are on the wing,
Hear the magpies calling!

Yon dip, like a reed, in the Cherry Pool,
Hear the magpies calling!
Your body is bronzed and beautiful,
Hear the magpies calling!
The wind breathes manna-dew and honey,
And rich we are without mint o’ money
With love unhived, and wild, and sunny,
Hear the magpies calling!

Louis Esson, Bells and Bees: Verses, Melbourne: Thomas C. Lothian, 1910, [page 16]

Editor’s notes:
manna = something gained freely and unexpectedly; in the Bible it refers to the food bestowed upon the Israelites in their journey from Egypt, hence the expression “manna from heaven” (also refers to spiritual nourishment; also refers to the substance exuded or excreted by certain insects and plants)

on the wing = flying, especially regarding a bird in flight; in motion, travelling; active

reive = plunder; rob; take by force (an alternative spelling of “reave”)

yon = an abbreviation of “yonder”: at a distance; far away

Vernacular spelling in the original text:
o’ (of)
thro’ (through)

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