Bees and Beehives

When I was a boy
our family usually had a beehive
or two, sometimes more, somewhere on the property
providing honey for us all.
This was rural New Zealand.
Takanini and Taheke for example.
Ohaeawai too.
If, usually on a hot summer’s day,
a Queen left the hive and a swarm followed her
we were there in the family Vauxhall on the gravel roads,
in dusty pursuit.
There would be a box and a handsaw in the boot,
there to collect the swarm when they landed
usually on a branch surrounding their Queen.
Once safely in the box we would bring them home
and give them a new residence alongside the
previous tenants.
I always kept my distance, but for some reason
my father had no fear of being stung at all.
He handled the bees as if they were old friends.