Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sunday Mini Challenge ~ The Secret Life of Bees

Greetings my fellow toads and those who stop by to visit the pond. Today we are talking about bees or I should say, The Secret Life of Bees,  by Sue Monk Kidd. It is a coming of age story of a young girl, Lily, who faces loss, abuse and racism in 1960's southern United States. For those of you who are not familiar with the book I offer a description written by the author.


Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, Lily Owens has shaped her entire life around one devastating, blurred memory--the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Since then, her only real companion has been the fierce-hearted, and sometimes just fierce, black woman Rosaleen, who acts as her "stand-in mother."

When Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily knows it's time to spring them both free. They take off in the only direction Lily can think of, toward a town called Tiburon, South Carolina--a name she found on the back of a picture amid the few possessions left by her mother.

There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters named May, June, and August. Lily thinks of them as the calendar sisters and enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women. Maternal loss and betrayal, guilt and forgiveness entwine in a story that leads Lily to the single thing her heart longs for most.


             



I have read this inspiring book and saw the movie based on it. It sparked my own memories of growing up in rural Missouri where I saw the results of prejudice. It also caused me to reflect on the deep connections I have with friends and family. Although it is written about women, men also have strong bonds that unite them also. Regardless of gender, connection is a powerful force that helps carry us through whatever joys, stumbles or sorrows life presents us with.

I have supplied a list of quotes from the book as inspiration for your poetry and welcome any direction your muse takes you. Please share a new poem as well as a link back to Real Toads and take time to read the work of your fellow poets.

“If you need something from somebody always give that person a way to hand it to you.” 

 “It is the peculiar nature of the world to go on spinning no matter what sort of heartbreak is happening.” 

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.” 

“After you get stung, you can't get unstung no matter how much you whine about it.” 

“Sunset is the saddest light there is.” 

“In a weird way I must have loved my little collection of hurts and wounds. They provided me with some real nice sympathy; with the feeling I was exceptional...What a special case I was.” 

“The body knows things a long time before the mind catches up to them. I was wondering what my body knew that I didn't.” 

“You can tell which girls lack mothers by the look of their hair...” 

“Putting black cloths on the hives is for us. I do it to remind us that life gives way into death, and then death turns around and gives way into life.”

“It was the oldest sound there was. Souls flying away.”

24 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

Wow, Susie, this is an amazing challenge. I don't even know if I can do it. That world is so far away from the small Canadian orchard-country town where I grew up.
But color or no color, people are all people under the skin, so I will give this some serious thought. Not an easy off-the-cuff midnight rhyme from me today.
K

Grace said...

Thank you for the interesting challenge Susie ~ I wrote about the beauty of women everywhere, regardless of color & upbringing ~

Happy weekend to all ~

LaTonya Baldwin said...

Susie, I loved the book. Put several copies in the library I ran. Gave away copies. Liked the movie okay. But the book, for so many reasons, I was glad to have read and shared it.

My weekend is full. Don't know if I'll write, but you can count on me to read and comment to those who do. A lovely, weekend treat. Thank you.

LaTonya Baldwin said...

Kay, I'm a black woman but I don't have trouble recognizing the universal in all of our stories. While the context is racial, it's still a story of love, justice and redemption. I think our lifelong challenge is to recognize and celebrate the connection.

Robert Bourne said...

great subject with endless possibilities...

Margaret said...

Oh, I adore this book and subsequently bought her other books from our local used book store. Have yet to read them, but this book is AMAZING! Watched the move, but agree with LaTonya... the book can't be beat.

If I don't get to this by Sunday evening, I will link up on Open Link Monday. :)

Kerry O'Connor said...

This one is on my to-read list. I have held off from watching the movie because I don't want the watered-down version. The quotes you have provided offer a wealth of poetic thought, which could take us a good distance from the original source.

Thanks for a thought-provoking challenge, Susie.

Ella said...

I wrote a poem about bees and prejudice a few years ago. It resides in many facets of life. I saw the movie and have the book on my reading list. The quote I might pick-my lead me somewhere else. Thank you Susie :D

Hannah said...

I loved the movie...I bet the book is even better! Thank you, Susie!

Gemma Wiseman said...

I love this challenge. I had just written a poem, then saw this challenge and found an amazing connection using one of the quotes.

Lisa A. Williams said...

One of my favorite books!

Susan said...

One of my favorite books .... haven't seen the movie but the trailer is attractive. I'll be back after I brainstorm a poem. ((One of my facebook friends founds a dead bee on her car seat today and wondered if it was warning or talisman!)

Kathryn said...

Loved the book and the movie (especially the wall with the written notes in it). Made me wish I had such a wall.

hedgewitch said...

This will have to go on my reading list--you describe it so eloquently, Susie. I will brood over the quotes and see if anything comes along. Thanks for the challenge.

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks so much everyone for your wonderful comments. I am looking forward to reading each response and I already know I will be blessed.

Sumana Roy said...


another wonderful prompt Susie........i have shared a string of haiku on Mother taking the 8th quote as my inspiration.... A Happy Sunday to you all :)

Liz Rice-Sosne said...

I love this idea. It has moved me tremendously. However it is taking so long to write my poem. This is truly a post that makes one think. This post is so poignant it is taking me way back in time. Now I must meet friends for breakfast ... I really hope I make. Thank you.

LaTonya Baldwin said...

Hannah, my biased opinion is the book is much better. I do think the movie was good especially if it's the only way some will hear the story.

ccchampagne said...

I hope you don't mind me crashing this party? I haven't written in absolute ages (think it's been more than a year since I produced anything at all), but I'm trying to get back into it... Anyway, just added a short one.

Debi Swim said...

I can't wait to get to read all your all's poems but I have to get supper on the table first - I'll be right back!

Herotomost said...

May not be exactly what you were looking for, but its what came out...lol. thanks Susie.

Margaret said...

Wow. Late, but I think I've met the challenge somewhat.

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks again everyone for taking part in the challenge. Each of you wrote pieces that fed my poetic soul. I am so blessed to be part of the garden.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Just a note to Robert whose blog require one sign in with google+ to comment, I am sorry to say that I am not on google+ so I have not left my thoughts, but I have read your poem.