Late Summer Honey

The title is from fragments of an Alkman poem, Alkman, the slave and choirmaster. I was thinking earlier this evening about new kinds of slavery, and frustrated by how so many Victorian writers foresaw it, but time and again, I keep coming back to a theme of bees, which saves me. Again, the comforting honeypot of yesteryear's Winnie-the-Pooh ("Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them").
We are told that it was Ruskin who saw behind the dark and bestially violent labyrinth Daedalus' other construction, the honeycomb (made of gold). Apparently, even when made of gold, bees still accept such a construction as their own. I wish to focus on the transformative aspect of the bee; Ruskin's interpretation of the other side of the labyrinth. How something so small could be the source of an antidote.
The scale regarding bees can be seen in Vergil's description of bees "all afire... their wings clash... they swarm in throngs... challenge their foe" - yet Vergil also shows how such "storms of passion" are quelled through "the tossing of a little dust". Beautiful commentary of this passage points out how we are not unlike those bees: the scale of our charging worries is but dust in the universe.
But the bee, and not always man, constructs the honeycomb: passageways that, through industry, lead to the production of a nectar that never expires. Ah, to overcome all that seeks to snuff out our Romantic storms, brewed from that (relatively) slight wind that plays music through our hearts, urging us to creation.
I came back this evening to Davenport's phrase (on Joyce): "The original labyrinth was political, the final one, the honeycomb, a gift to Aphrodite." Politics ultimately has to do with relating to/relations with citizens. And I was thinking tonight about that kind of relational experience I have mostly when I read, but sometimes when I am lucky with my students, when we are all on the same page, despite differences in time, place, age, etc. It can be inspiring to encounter one's thoughts beyond oneself. And oddly like sharing a good meal.
How nice it would be if we could go beyond mere words and meals to build together, like the bees. And remember that politics can also be an art, not just a science. If we were to address art in times of difficulty, times that prove our mortality through our battles and wont... "My hearth is cold but the day will come When a rich pot of red bean soup Is on the table, the kind Alkman loves, Good peasant cooking, nothing fine. The first day of Autumn, you shall be my guest. Served bean soup, parched wheat, And late summer honey." What a simple, idyllic landscape. Everything is in its place (hierarchy reigns the honeycomb, tyranny, the labyrinthine halls). The soup is peasant's soup - but is that not the hearty meal the modern man craves? And to anyone who speaks "politics", I think I will answer, "peasant soup". And honey.

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