Does the hummingbird know
the vastness of the Gulf of Mexico
when land is lost from sight?
Oil rigs and shrimping boats—
fast-blurred memories, random ghosts afloat
where sky and sea seem one.
Is there any inkling
of monsters below that other ceiling
birds can scarce imagine?
Tiny feathered jewel,
leagues from any flower’s nectar fuel,
how do you know the way?
Above those trackless seas,
in doldrum times of windless apogee,
one heart of pebble’s size
pounds alone against the gulf,
pounds alone against the world.
One of the most amazing bird migrations is that of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. On its southbound journey from eastern North America to its wintering grounds in Central and South America, it flies up to 500 miles nonstop over the Gulf of Mexico.
When you use spider silk to build a nest,
You take an awful risk.
This is what I learned from a hummingbird
Trapped in a spider’s web.
Still alive, the bird fought for his freedom,
The spider watched, waiting,
Shrinking back when I moved to intervene.
I gently pulled the bird
Out of the sticky tangles of the web.
Afraid I might crush him,
My fingers, trembling, pulled the silk away
From tiny, tightbound wings,
Glowing iridescent in the sunlight
When I opened my hand,
He shot into the air, flying swift north,
seeking another web.
This is a true story from a few years ago. I’ve written a few other poems about it, but this one is the latest. I’ve been experimenting with writing lines with specific syllable counts and sometimes stumbling into formal meters. Experimenting with rhythm, I guess.
Check out more good stuff at Read Write Poem, where you’ll find a number of folks who wrote a poem a day for the 30 days of April, aka National Poetry Month. I didn’t shoot for that, but I did write more poems this month than usual, many of which are at a gnarled oak or in my journal. And, I revised a lot of older ones.