Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Dream of Honey by Matthew Sweeney






A Dream of Honey
I dreamed that bees were extinct,
had been for decades, and honey
was a fabled memory, except for jars
hoarded by ancient, wealthy gourmets.
Honey was still on the shelves, of course –
that’s what they’d named the sweet concoction
chemists had arrived at, and it sold well,
not just to those who knew no better,
and the day was coming fast when no one
alive would be able to taste the difference.
Then one Friday morning in Riga
a peasant woman arrived by horse and cart
at the old Zeppelin Hangars market
and set up her stall with jars of honey
flavoured by the various flowers. Around her
sellers of the new honey gawped, then sniffed
as she screwed the lids off, then glared
as her jars were snapped up in minutes,
and she climbed on her cart again
and let the horse take her away.
In the dream, e-mails sped everywhere
about this resurrection of honey,
and supermarket-suppliers scoured Latvia,
knocking on every door, sending helicopters
low over houses, looking for beehives,
but after a month they gave it up,
and the woman never appeared again
though rumours of her honey-selling
came over the border from Russia
and continued beyond the dream.
MATTHEW SWEENEY (2001)

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