This week we are proud to present a previously unpublished poem, “Volition,” by Bruce Bond. Bond’s most recent collections of poetry include Choir of the Wells (A trilogy of new books; Etruscan Press, forthcoming), The Visible (LSU, forthcoming), Peal (Etruscan, 2009), and Blind Rain (Finalist, The Poet’s Prize, LSU, 2008). Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at the University of North Texas and Poetry Editor for American Literary Review.
This poem is part of a cycle entitled “Wildlife Studies,” which explores the mind-body problem, the serious consideration of which leads to metaphysics, the sense that there is a force of spontaneity, of self-determination, that in part defines and shapes all forms of life. As such, the mind-body problem mirrors the form-content problem in which positing pre-linguistic form does not address the issue of how new meaning comes into the world. Words may inform words but they do not replicate them. When I first encountered Derrida, it struck me that a more interesting question than “Is there an end to interpretation?” is “Is there a beginning?” One way of reading Blake’s recurrent homage to the infinite within the finite is to see it as the force of spontaneous coming into being, the thing beyond form that is within form. Imaginative life expresses and embodies this force, writing as it reads, grounded in appearances and yet, by virtue of this, capable of creating new ones. Bee reads flower, flower bee, an entire season in each.
The bee that gems my cup is no stranger
to a little chaos, the honey on the wind,
the ghost of a choice in the world design.
The beads of head, thorax, and abdomen
grip the string that buzzes as it flies.
Therefore the music that we call a bee.
Compelled, which says a bee is two bees,
one a bloom to animate the other.
He tilts his head, polishes the sweetened
hairs of his antennae, his shell a shelter
anonymous with guests we cannot see.
Is it true, each being is a reader,
not bees alone, but the buds they open
peeled to read the hunter reading them.
It makes him lovable and dangerous,
the unscripted molecule of bee
a scribble among flowers, crazy with rain.
Take this mandible, this tiny nib
that pins the air, pauses, pins again.
No form without no form, it writes. OK.
So I made that up. It goes more like this:
once I was a bee inside a bee.
Or this: mind is the only wilderness,
a rose torn from hiding, like a sting.