For Laura Garofalo and Catherine Rogers
“I am a furious little bee”
I am a furious
Sono una piccola
We know bees do their duty for the sake of the hive. They buzz: we realize rumor goes hand-in-hand with public opinion. The things that bind us as a people can work against that unity. Not so with bees, it seems.
Still: what makes this bee furious? It’s almost comical to think of someone as a bee ready to sting any potential challenger, even though bees can die from the very act of stinging something with thick-enough skin. It’s almost comical when compared with Dickinson’s comparing (herself?) to a “daffodil” in regards to her efforts.
Maybe it was rumor that made the bee furious. But “little” could have another significance. The very order of the hive might be felt a constraint. Do your job, create that honey everyone else enjoys, be seen as a “little bee” with one’s anger or docility considered irrelevant.
I don’t know the poem is necessarily a feminist statement, although I do read it that way also. It is some kind of general but powerful self-assertion. My own thought is that this bee’s buzzing sends messages horizontally and up the chain-of-command. No idle gossip or complaining about daily tasks at this point. Anger is a sign of injustice. Something is being communicated, loud and clear.