Silent Hives

It has become a Christmas tradition to post a bit of holiday poetry at this time of year. I had resolved to skip the tradition this year as I have been rather busy, then I just plain changed my mind a couple days ago and here I am. So allow me to present my latest work, for the sixth year in a row, Silent Hives.

My hives today (Dec 24, 2020) in the rain. The insulated one in front is actually two nucs sharing their warmth. All is calm. ©Erik Brown

I had to go track down my prior posts to make sure I picked a new song. For future reference, I am making a list of them here so next year I will have the full list in one place.

I still think 2015 is my best, though I am pretty happy with this year’s endeavor. I work hard to make the words biologically accurate, so I hope you enjoy.

Silent Hives

Silent hives, clustered bees
All is calm, all at ease
‘Round non-virgin mother and daughters
Lack of brood, and no-oh-o fathers
Buzz in heavenly peace
Buzz in heavenly peace
Silent hives, clustered bees
Muscles shake, so no freeze
Honey power from comb nearby
Outer bees stay close, don’t fly
Apis mellifera warms
Apis mellifera warms
Silent hives, clustered bees
Lovely queen, stay safe please
Radiant beams arrive in spring
Then lay eggs without any king
Workers, all at thy birth
Workers, all at thy birth

Silent Night

The Christmas carol “Stille Nacht”, or Silent Night, was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber in 1818 to lyrics written by the young priest Joseph Mohr in 1816. After flooding risked damage to the church organ, Mohr asked Gruber if he could compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for that night’s mass at St Nicholas Church in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. He very much wanted music at the service, and with Gruber’s help he was able to do so. The song spread to nearby villages and then throughout Europe.

In 1859, John Freeman Young, a priest serving at Trinity Church in New York City, wrote and published the English translation that is most frequently sung today, translated from three of Mohr’s original six verses. These were used for my adaptation, and correspond to the original verse 1, 6, and 2 in Mohr’s lyrics.

I’ve always felt that Silent Night was a peaceful song, and well reflects the almost eerie quiet of a bee yard on a cold winter’s day. Now that we are past the winter solstice, the bees are starting to think about spring, and soon they will begin laying eggs and raising the young brood that will emerge in February and March as the early blooms reveal their nectar.

May you prosper and find honey.

3 thoughts on “Silent Hives

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