A Hummingbird Visits
August 17, 2016 | Carmelite spirituality, mystery, nature, poetry, prayer, reflection, Scriptures, summer, Transfiguration
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
Other Blogs by Secular Discalced Carmelites:
- Bethany Hang Out – a blog by Shawn Chapman, OCDS. Shawn is a member of the Austin community of Secular Discalced Carmelites. She also writes regularly for ATX Catholic online.
- Elizabeth Explores Writing – a blog by Elizabeth Ogilvie, OCDS. Elizabeth is a Secular Discalced Carmelite of the U.S. Central Province.
- Gray Rising – a blog by Tim Bete, OCDS. Tim is a member of the community of the Secular Discalced Carmelites in Dayton, OH.
- Hearth Cake and a Jug of Water – Mary Bellman, a member of the Dallas OCDS community, sends out a daily Carmelite quotation by e-mail. Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be added on her mailing list and receive these Carmelite quotations.
- Illumina, Domine – a blog by Pat Enk, a Secular Discalced Carmelite of the U.S. Central Province.