Flowers Chasing Bees
By Caila Lane - Peace Corps Volunteer, Eswatini (2013 - 2015)
I try to believe in impossible things.
That way, my mind never settles into
Thinking it can understand everything.
So when I heard a Swazi woman say,
"A flower cannot chase a bee",
it stung deep in me.
She meant that a woman must not pursue a man.
That a woman's place is in the dirt,
sitting clean with no wrinkles in her skirt.
But I know that skirt covers hardened knees,
while the bees buzz around all the skirts they please.
And those pretty petals conceal the steel
Beneath the soft leaves
That bend to the will of the hungry bees.
And her tender roots dig deep
because the flower knows she has many seasons
before she can sleep
and too many duties to keep.
I wanted to tell her
There is so much strength and power
Contained in the simplest of flowers.
Without the flower there would be no bee
And the earth would never know the taste of honey.
The flower helped provide life's first breath.
It is the gift of love and the gift in death.
That flowers come in such variety
Each containing a universe of life and beauty.
So a flower must chase whatever it pleases.
I still believe in impossible things.
Because a flower can be so much more than it seems.
And soon, I believe, flowers will be chasing dreams.
This poem was entered in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. The contest received more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.