A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 15,000 daily subscribers. Over 6,000 archived posts.
American City, Colorado
I’m drawn to the window where the hummingbirds
come; the shrill sound of wings precedes them;
then they hover at the red sugar water,
feeding before they’re gone. Behind, the peaks
hunch sternly white against a wide,
uninterrupted blue in a clarity
that broaches no doubt or misunderstanding,
though the weather keeps coming, moving
east across the divide. The doors of the cabin
stand open. From where I sit, sounds
my friends make—wife, husband, child—
join in a blur of murmurs and thumps that become
occasionally distinct as when one voice,
one fragment, carries clear across a crowd:
this burst of hammer blows, dog bark,
that half-cry in frustration or surprise.
The whole family at work, cheered,
it seems, by their shared jobs. Underneath
the commotion, despite the known disturbances—
burdens of marriage and of child-raising—
the whole house, family, spring day,
that which is being made is freighted with stillness
as if held in a frame, fragile, carrying weight.
Before me, one hummingbird, red throated,
hangs briefly. Yet even set at the fastest stop
my camera catches motion in those wings:
a halo of echoes rounds the body as it goes.
Copyright 1996 Sandy Solomon. From Pear, Lake, Sun (U. of Pittsburgh, 1996).
Sandy Solomon teaches at Vanderbilt University.
Rufous Hummingbird, commonly found in Colorado (source: Bird Watching HQ)