One Jar of Honey
by Jane Yolen
“'One jar of honey to all the gods, one jar of honey to
the Mistress of the Labyrinth'—clay tablet, Knossos
Here in the Denmark of the year,
where bees move like sleep, like death,
their fruit coagulating in the hive,
we bring storied honey
to the Mistress of the Labyrinth.
Honey is the key unlocking mysteries.
Honey is the sweet disguise.
It paints the lips of the dead.
It is the soft fall of footstep
around the circled path,
The Mistress smiles on our offer,
taking the jar in sweetened hands.
Her tongue snakes out for a taste.
Her praises to the hive
keep us alive in the end of the year.
Little bees lie mostly still in their winter,
wings burring like a snore.
We walk the labyrinth out of solstice
heading toward another spring,
leaving the bitter cold behind.
* * * * *
Jane Yolen, author of 360+ books (actual number) including 8 books of adult poetry. Much of her work is for young readers, but she has a number of novels, essay collections, and pedagogical books for adult as well. www.janeyolen.com