The Prayer of the Bee

I am not one to despise your gifts.
May You be blessed
Who spreads the richness of Your sweetness for my zeal . . .
Let my small span of ardent life melt into our great communal task;
to lift up to Your glory this temple of sweetness,
a citadel of incense,
a holy candle, myriad-celled,
moulded of Your graces
and of my hidden work.

—from Prayers from the ark by Carmen Bernos de Gasztol, translated by Rumer Godden. New York: Viking, 1962.

In ancient time Xerxes, the king of kings, looking down upon his myriads, wept to think that in a hundred years not one of them would be left. Where will be [the] millions of today in a hundred years? But, further than that, let us ask, where then will be the sum and outcome of their labour? If they wither away like summer grass, will not at least a result be left which those of a hundred years hence may be the better for? No, not one jot! There will not be any sum or outcome or result of this ceaseless labour and movement; it vanishes in the moment that it is done, and in a hundred years nothing will be there, for nothing is there now.

— Richard Jefferies. The story of my heart (1883)”