At first glance this is a remarkably fresh and microcosmic take on the popular voyage genre, but in its lyric intensity certain hermeneutic features appear that might be obscured in the longer iterations of the theme. The brevity of lyric in its sense of compact tension often produces a sense of heightened emergency.
For the text and notes, see p. 83 of My News for You: Irish Poetry 600-1200, ed. and translated by Geoffrey Squires, Shearsman Books 2016:
A busy yellow bee
a not insignificant journey
flying joyfully out
over the great plain
in the sun
pausing at blossom after blossom
cup after cup
and then happily back again
the orderly community of the hive
In his note Squires comments on the difficulty of translating the word he translates as “orderly.” He notes that bees are frequently used to symbolize a social order that is in contrast to human anarchy.
From the journey tradition we know the existential journey touches at several bases of being as it happens: the wonder of the objective world — flying joyfully out; the route inward discovering values in the shared world as the journey continues — “over the great plain / in the sun/”; and as the journey continues its dialectical way, ” pausing at blossom after blossom/ cup after cup” there is an increasing sense of “gravity” or worldliness, which is relieved “happily” when the turning point is reached. The journey outward-and-inward reaches its “end”: “and then happily back again.” The “return” is not a figure of linear repetition but a return to the community.
Is this a model of loss of self in the hive?
The vocabulary of value (ethos) —not insignificant; joyfully; happily —suggest a “natural” (the quotes mean to dislodge this word from its naturalistic anchor in modern evolutionary materialism) harmony, in which finite individuals both exert themselves and complete themselves in light of an Order that is both subjective — happily, joyfully — and objective in both the material sense — space and process (gathering pollen for the community)–and in the transcendent sense (as reflected in the aesthetic shaping of the poem as a free act). We might call the journey “intersubjective” or better “trans-subjective.” All the while the journey is “in the sun.”
So, yes: “orderly” but not in the reductive sense but in the “hyperbolic” sense: not ironic but suggestive of that of which we cannot speak because we are both too close to it and too far from it.