Vox Populi

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Sandy Solomon: On a Visit to Friends

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)

3 comments on “Sandy Solomon: On a Visit to Friends

  1. matthewjayparker
    August 19, 2022

    Eriocnemis isabellae, better known as the Gorgeted Puffleg, is endemic to Colombia. This particular hummingbird is a Flagship Species. Defined by the World Wildlife Fund as, “…a species selected to act as an ambassador, icon or symbol for a defined habitat, issue, campaign or environmental cause,” the puffleg’s fate is tied in with the rainforest. Colibrí in Spanish. Google him. He’s quite beautiful. Gorget means throat in French, I believe, and his is magnificent, as are the puffs on his legs, like Cossack boots. Isabella, the woman he’s named for, along with her mother, Sara Lara, run organizations entitled Women for Conservation and Fundación ProAves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jolly Watson
    August 16, 2022

    Thank you for your immediate response.


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