All 15 verses are posted.
The spring sun shines warmly down
and a soft breeze stirs the growing grass.
Rowen strolls through the farm,
her shoes strung around her neck,
barefoot and mindful of where she walks.
The apple trees are blooming
and the orchard roars with bees.
A cloud of tiny bodies clad in black-and-gold velvet
fills the air around the little row of skeps.
Rowen watches them closely
as they go to and fro,
mostly headed for the orchard
but some out into the meadows.
The cool grass tickles her ankles as she walks,
swishing against the hem of her blue skirt.
She has pinned her red curls under a white cap
to keep out the bees and the leaves.
She is following the little winged victory-women
to see where they are going.
There are sheep in the next meadow,
like white pillows surrounded by frisking lambs,
but this meadow is empty
except for Rowen and the bees.
Amongst the grass grow clumps of clover,
alsike clover with its little pink flowers
and red clover with its larger tufts of purple.
Each blossom has its bee,
hanging heavily down toward the ground,
nodding and bowing in the warm breeze.
Each bee has her baskets of golden pollen
that she gathers from the sweet flowers.
Rowen lies on the ground for a long time,
cradled by the green grass and the colorful clover,
lulled by the buzzing work-song of the bees
as she watches them go about their business.
She watches the clouds overhead, too,
high and fluffy and white,
heralds of more fine weather to come.
In the afternoon, Rowen follows the bees
to the edge of the forest where
some of them are examining trees and bushes.
She sees one scout enter a knothole in a tree
but emerge again, clearly dissatisfied.
They are not searching seriously,
not yet, most of them still sipping at flowers,
but they are beginning to think about those trees.
Rowen drifts back to the meadow
and watches the working girls go from
flower to flower, their endless industry
impressing her as always.
She thinks they must love their work
as much as she loves her own with the garden.
There is no one here to bother them,
Rowen and the bees, as they share
their quiet communion amongst the clover.
She is like them, she thinks,
a woman working with her sisters,
a woman who will not have children of her own
but is happy to care for those around her.
Say that the farm is her hive,
and it is her place to look after the honey.
When Rowen returns to the common house
that evening, she smiles at the buzz of conversation
and the busy dance of bodies in the golden-lit space.
She finds Borga the farmer already at the table,
her short black curls just touching the collar
of her checkered shirt; and there too are
Borga's parents Gróa and Hrafn,
sitting with Solvig the scholar discussing numbers.
Rowen lures Borga into a conversation about the bees.
"Our girls are thinking about swarming," she says.
"We will need to make a new skep or two."
Borga nods. "We have some oat straw left," she says.
"I'll put it to soak after supper, and then
we can start on the skeps tomorrow."
Another young farmer, Dýrfinna, joins them
and volunteers to help, her long braid
as yellow and fine as the coiled straw of a skep.
"Bjarni here is old enough to sort straws for us,"
she offers, and her son nods eagerly.
"What are we making?" he asks.
"We are going to make bee skeps," Rowen explains,
"so the bees will have a good home when they swarm."
"The garden row is getting full," Borga observes.
"We could start a new row at the far end of the orchard,"
says Dýrfinna. "I'll ask Arnvid to build us a bench."
So it goes as they make their plans over supper,
the honey-glazed ham and the bread dripping with butter
and the first of the early greens gathered from garden and grounds.
There are beeswax candles on the table
to give some extra light and the sweet scent of summer,
and the tablecloth is embroidered with rows of daisies.
Everyone has their own work and people are always busy,
yet they still manage to come together like this.
Rowen watches the patterns of her hive
and listens to the hum of conversations,
her eyes drifting closed with pleasure.
There is nowhere on Earth she would rather be.