Eva Colombo, Bestario dannunziano, capitolo secondo: L’eternità d'istante dell'ape
Eva Colombo, D’Annunzio’s bestiary, second chapter: The instant eternity of the bee

In September 1899 D’Annunzio lodges at a Zurich’s hotel. He is alone and tired but he can’t find rest: the gloomy room oppresses him like a prison, like the grave of someone buried alive. Suddenly a golden insect ( “something that passes” ) crosses humming the funereal air ( “something that doesn’t change” ) of that mournful room: a life afflatus that crosses a dead immobility.
D’Annunzio has already met this “golden insect”: it is the bee that pricks Eleonora Duse in an Egyptian grave. It is an ancient grave just discovered where everything seems crystallized by a millenary death: suddenly a humming bee shakes the grave’s shadow. Learned men can’t accept the existence of such a living bee there and busy themselves in trying to drive it out. Eleonora Duse offers her hands to the bee as a shelter from the hysterical reaction of learned men whose short - sighted knowledge can’t admit the existence of such a prodigy: the bee reciprocates pricking her ring finger, blowing into her that millenary life afflatus which enlightens her face with a smile as much ancient and enigmatical as life.
The same bee pricks also Isabella Inghirami ( female protagonist of Forse che sì forse che no, novel written by Gabriele D’Annunzio, 1910 ) in Isabella Gonzaga’s garden at the Ducal palace of Mantua. This garden torpid, abandoned and sad is similar to a grave: here Isabella Inghirami, twentieth century woman, jokes in incarnating Isabella Gonzaga, sixteenth century woman. As Isabella Gonzaga, Isabella Inghirami evokes her garden, a garden once full of bees: suddenly a living and present bee breaks with its living humming the grave’s silence of that dead garden. This ancient bee perceives an elective affinity with Isabella and pursues her arriving at pricking her on the left hand blowing into her its deep essence. Many pages after this essence comes to light when Isabella dances in front of her lover at the sound of an old music – box: a strange sound similar to a humming, similar to a sistrum ( ancient instrument used by Egyptians ). Isabella’s dance seems to reveals “the spirit of what is still and lasting”, seems to reveals the essence of that enigmatic bee.
What is still and lasting – “something that doesn’t change” – is somehow similar to a work of art. The bee that pricked Isabella Inghirami has an inclination to art mistaking for its hive the roof’s decoration of the Ducal Palace.
Let’s return to Zurich’s hotel in September 1899. At the restaurant D’Annunzio reflects upon the relationship between reality and his art concluding that he finds most beautiful images of his art in reality carcass like Sansone << who found a swarm of bees in lion’s carcass >>; the poet laments the difficulty in closing into art’s crystal this swarm of bees.
The funereal air of the Egyptian grave, of the ghostly garden of Mantua and of the Zurich’s hotel is “something that doesn’t change”, something still and lasting as a work of art. The bee, preserved alive by that air, is “something that passes”, the living spirit blown by the artist in the work of art: the work of art preserves this living spirit through ages to return it intact in the instant of artistic fruition.