The Canticle of the Bees

"The Canticle of the Bees" and other charming Christmas poems can be found in this favorite book of ours. Ms. McGinley has taken fifteen medieval legends of the first Christmas and turned them into poems. "The original tales grew up in that era when wonders and miracles seemed very near at hand - when it seemed quite natural that all creation must have taken part in the Nativity."
The Canticle of the Bees

Bees in winter
Weather keep,
Rapt, a garden-haunted

Dream of summer,
Still as stone,
Save on Christmas Eve,

When that honey-havened
Roused by bells
From every steeple,

Wake and sing
With one accord
To the Lord.

"Praise Him,"
Sing the choiring bees,
"Lord of limes
and locust trees,

Him Who has
Dominion over
Fields of amaranthine

"By Whose providence
We fare
Daily through
The throbbing air

"And return
In drowsy flight
From the pastures
Of delight,

"From the many-petaled
When the shadows close."
So, at least,
The legend goes.

Visit them
When bells arrive.
Cup your ear
Against the hive.

You may hear them
Singing thus,
but multitudinous:

Lord of all
Things that flutter,
Fly or crawl,

"Now Your Star
Has shone again,
Bless Your swarming Bees.

Wondering, walk there.
Do not fear them.
But remember
As you near them,
Only the pure in heart 
Shall hear them.


  1. That's lovely! And don't they sing their praises just by "bee-ing" what they were created to "bee".

  2. "choiring bees"

    I liked that. Singing bees! :)

  3. Hate to admit this but your lovely offering reminds me of the Bee Movie. Just saw it this past weekend with my 7 year old. Sorry to make such a low connection!

  4. I love that poem and the book. Of course, never heard of it ~~ lovely , lovely to keep growing in book knowledge from you my friend!

  5. thanks for sharing this! I love this:
    "Lord of limes
    and locust trees..."

    gonna look this book up! ;)

    amy in peru

  6. Now THAT was entirely delightful!

    A choiring bee... that's just fantastic. Now I know what to call myself.

  7. Very Sweet! It's tempting to cup my ear to their hive and listen on Christmas! (We keep bees!)

  8. Wow! Sounds like a great book. I really need to start reading more poetry with the children.

  9. I popped over from WUHS, already reserved the book at the library. My neighbor is a bee keeper, can't wait to share this!

  10. Very nice. And I can't help but think of the bee hives sitting on my porch with hopes of being filled with bees in the spring!