…And I think
They know my strength,
The danger of their work:
One blow could crush them
And their nest; and I am not their friend.
And yet they seem
Too deeply and too fiercely occupied
To bother to attend.
Perhaps they sense
I’ll never deal the blow,
For, though I am not in nor of them,
Still I think I know
What it is like to live
In an alien and gigantic universe, a stranger,
Building the fragile citadels of love
On the edge of danger.
~James Rosenberg from “The Wasps’ Nest”
Anger is as a stone cast into a wasp’s nest.
~Pope Paul VI
against the sun. I took the nest
rested for a moment. Then the drones
awoke and did their painful business.
It split to its deep palaces and combs.
~Michael Schmidt — “Wasps’ Nest”
It hung undisturbed the past few months as its busy citizens visited our picnics, greedily buzzed our compost bin, shot bullet-like out of the garbage can when I lifted the lid. In short, their threat of using their weaponry controlled all our moves this summer.
This nest is their nighttime respite for a few more weeks before a freeze renders them weak and paralyzed in slow motion. A thing of beauty outside harbors danger inside. I must not touch this tissue paper football nest with its beating buzzing hornet heart.
Let winter deal the devastating blow. As I am not in or of them, I cannot cast the first stone.
In a few short weeks, as they sleep, the north winds will tear it free from its tight hold,
bear it aloft in its lightness of being, and it will fall, crushed, broken, its secret heart revealed and all that stings will be let go.