Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

A Hummingbird Visits

Just beyond the clear clean glass
arrives a blur of iridescent colours.
Related and opposing,
One to another. Orange,
green, red, yellow, black.

Standing there, all her
attention taken up with a 
hovering bird.  Humming, 
amid the fireworks of
cascading Summer blooms.

In a hushed trance
the swift, soft beating of 
tiny wings vibrate through 
the window.  Leaving her
transfixed – suspended.

From before her eyes,
God raises his palm 
revealing his back, 
passing ever so closely by,

in a humming birds wing.

This poem might easily be considered heat induced nostalgia.  In it the beauty of summer is portrayed through a woman observing a ruby throated hummingbird collecting nectar from a bush covered in orange blooms.  The bird harmonizes with and yet is in opposition to the bush – sort of like the colours on a colour wheel, or even that the bird floats, while the bush is fixed to the earth. 

In the last stanza, two Old Testament events involving Moses and Elijah are suggested; introducing the idea this is more than just a fleeting moment.  Both Moses and Elijah had deeply contemplative experiences of God; Elijah encountered God in the hush of a whisper at the mouth of a cave, while Moses was placed in the cleft of a rock and allowed to see God’s back only after he had passed – because God had covered Moses with his hand.  

It is hard to explain how the poem burgeoned on the feast of the Transfiguration; arriving in fourteen free flowing words amidst dangerously oppressive heat in my part of the country.  Then over several days it evolved into what you see here.  But it was only when I finished the poem that I associated its subject matter to the influence of stifling heat, vibrant colours, the feast of the Transfiguration, Old Testament prophets who communed with God, silence and interaction with beauty.   All these things were inside me yet flowed out in a mystery – that’s how poetry works in/on me.  Maybe these comments will help you relate to the words, rhythm and structure of the poem.

Written by Hannah De Lisser
See Older Posts...