Summer Picnic

Calm, quiet……..
Alone  –
The breeze juggles butterflies across the lawn.
The bees sizzle – frantic – panic –
inside the jar.
Sizzle, sizzle.

Dad readies the coals –
hot red – soon to ash
Neighbors bring the cole slaw,
Bees try not to touch the glass….

Sue laughs.

Cecil and Shirley,
Neighbors are early,
Jack Russells Spot and Ginger too…
Mom pats the patties
into big burger fatties,
and sprinkles them with salt and pepper too.

Dad ties the apron strings,
grabs a spatula and other things
As Sue watches the bees die….
one…by one… by one…  by one

They look so small and far
laying in the bottom of that jar.

Sue used a towel
and my soul felt like a whimpering howl,
when she took the jar of dead bees out of the coals.

The adults didn’t notice,
conversation their only purpose.
Burgers and potato salad and fun.
And I, alone, the only one –
who saw what Sue had done.
Her little bee holocaust
amidst the summer fun.

Had I known her plan,
I wouldn’t have caught them for her.
I was just following orders.





Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.

Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

—Hannah Senesh, written days before her capture by the Nazis



 Miss Senesh was a young Jew living in Palestine who joined a group of underground resistance fighters that parachuted into Nazi held territory to disrupt their efforts.   She was caught and killed by German forces.  I recently had the opportunity to tour the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.. Whoever you are, where ever you are, what ever your beliefs or feelings about this, please, please, visit this museum.


About johnallenrichter

I am an aspiring Poet and adorer of life, a conqueror of nothing. However I am a champion curator of truth and friendship and hold both of those things most dearly to my heart. Welcome to my mind's eye. I hope you will enjoy what you may find and please know that you have a friend here. View all posts by johnallenrichter

4 responses to “Summer Picnic

  • willowdot21

    Such a sting in the tail of that tale…… no pun intended. There is a deep dark meaning there which I do understand!

  • Mary

    That is so sad, John. I can feel for those bees in the jar. Even the least of God’s creatures can suffer.

    And yes, I do understand the parallels……..

  • wolfsrosebud

    what a beautiful comparison here… loved the shadowed meaning… embraced the mirco-vision happening with the kids… it felt like a family picnic most in American would have… get job

  • Mark Kerstetter

    The summer fun and sing-song rhyme juxtaposed with the cruel act is very effective. Kids can be cruel, and sometimes (maybe a lot of the time) they grow out of it. When I was little I used to torture insects. Today I wouldn’t kill an insect unless it intruded into my home and became a nuisance – and even then I’ll let it out the window if I can.

    Of course the disturbing wider question rings out too: the Nazis had kids, had picnics, then went about their killing in an apparent ability to disconnect from their own cruelty just like a child.

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