So: The Bees. Before I open it, I feel as if I have at least partly read it. From my previous knowledge of Carol Ann Duffy (mixed: some meticulously turned work in the past, but some obvious and banal work more recently - especially the laureate poem for the Olympics…). But also from the title.
Bees: that hints at Plath, obviously, but also more recently Jacob Polley and further back Mandeville, with his fable about society based on bees.
There will be something about social order and swarms (maybe dancing, although that feels unlikely for Duffy). Something about domestic danger (with allusions to spacemen or biohazard suits). Something about pattern and order, celebrating the environmental importance of apparently humble creatures. And something about pesticides or fears about the reductions in their populations. Of course, it will be impossible to resist touching on the sting (with a nod to self-sacrifice, since a bee dies with its sting).
Or perhaps I will be surprised…