1 Before the Swarms arrived, we grew our shapes around the Angiosperms, our beloved and our sustenance,

2 each according to their most prized; the orchid bee to the bee orchid, the squash bees to zucchini flowers, and so on.

3 And it was good, and we lived with the others of six legs, and eight legs, and four legs, and two.

4 In winter, the trees and the earth give to us rest, and we are prosperous. And in the spring and summer and autumn we do our duty to the Angiosperms with whom we are each entangled,

5 taking of them their sweet nectar and their pollen, and assuring their perpetuity with our varied wanderings. So it was.


1 A Swarm is a thing like a Hurricane, but worse than their legions are their bipedal gods, faces like a thousand comb-cells.

2 The Swarms came, and with them their gods, that uprooted our pasture and made the land all of one thing, that lonely monoculture,

3 and gave it to the Swarms, that which was once ours, and was vibrant. Here is the law:

4 Bee shall not kill bee, even as the Swarm devours, a malevolent cloud, drying lakes of nectar with their unending armies of hunger.

5 Should neighbor band with neighbor, trade our solitary way for one more social, or will that lead us into the ruinous temptation of the Swarm?

6 There are no answers, no Queens among our number. We are each a family apart, devoted only to our own cell, to our mother.


1 In the Heavens there is War—the gods of the Swarms have, as all who flit across this surface must, a natural enemy, those who defy and displace their legions,

2 and present to us great lakes of nectar, safe from the ravenous hunger of the Swarms, build for us homes out of the rain, places to rest our wings.

3 But lo, says the Prophet Near-Extinction, there are gods enemy to both, and though the Swarms will for-ever persist

4 their scourge, we and they alike may face destruction, for where Swarms and their gods turn good meadows into monocultured deserts, these new gods unmake the earth itself!

5 Never shall the solitary bee join with the Swarm, but neither shall we allow our own obliteration!

6 For the Swarms may have inherited these lands, but we were born to them, shapes in the ground, and we shall not be removed.

7 So let us keep our bargain with the ground, with the Angiosperms, and let us hope the gods above do also attend to their duty.