I wasn’t expecting poetry when I opened this book: I’d grabbed a book from the “our librarian’s recommend” shelf whilst my son toddled about picking a few books out of the book box for himself, mostly picking it because it had the most intriguing cover and was the thinnest book on that shelf.
But as the title, Bee Journal, suggests the form of the book is a journal, each poem reflecting on a single day for the bee hive, and takes us on a journey which reflects all our mortal relationships and a measure of the time of a life. The scenes painted also give rise to consideration of a slower pace of life, where for a moment you are living with the rural concerns of a beehive.
Whilst nearly all the poems stand alone beautifully, describing the scene of that day, the real strength of this book is how the poems as a collection invoke a feeling of time passing and change. From the optimism of the new hive, life is measured out, swarms are observed and the bitter winter is experienced.
The notes on the author mention that <a href=”http://www.granta.com/New-Writing/New-Poet-Sean-Borodale”>Sean Borodale</a> is from Somerset, which being local is the countryside I had thought of when reading this.