Monday, May 31, 2010

Oh Hummingbird! Oh Finch!

I've been working on a poem, and though it's by no means finished, I thought I'd post it-- this being Walt Whitman's birthday after all.

It is about the hummingbird that suddenly appeared when I hung this exotic basket outside my kitchen window. I have a history of birds and hanging baskets. When I lived in Long Beach, CA, right after my first husband left me, I noticed a bird started nesting in a dead basket on the balcony. I thought it was a pigeon. It was there all the time, and finally one day I looked up from the dining room table and realized that it was actually a dove. That's when I knew everything was going to be ok. One of the two eggs hatched, and I photographed the baby a lot, including the last day before it flew out of the nest for good.

Last year, and now again this year, I have a small bird nesting in one of my hanging baskets. It seems to have moved in the day after I hung it up, and it flutters out to a nearby tree every time someone comes in or out the front door. Nests, it turns out, drain well, and I've been watering the plant despite the nest. Finally, I took the plant down on Saturday to see if there really was a nest and/or eggs. There were four little eggs there. I took some photos. This morning I took it down to show Steve the eggs, and what do you know, two were hatched! The babies were incredibly tiny and vulnerable. They hardly looked like birds at all. I will, of course, stop watering now! Hopefully the ivy geranium will withstand the dryness of the next few weeks, until the birds have flown.

Oh, Hummingbird!

Is it possible you migrated to this spot
the very day I hung the basket of fuschia
on the hook at my kitchen window?

I have trouble imagining you waiting
through the fickle month of April
with the large birds in the wetlands.

Though maybe the bluebottles on the pond
told you sweet things were on the way.

Did they remember the hanging baskets
I put out hopefully each year,
with their Chinese lanterns of purple and pink?

These baskets began in a hothouse in February,
about the time you started heading north.
Now that you’re here, do they entice you to stay?

Just wait, be still—no need to go anywhere else.
In a month the Asian lilies will open their nectar mouths
and call you in your own language, and wonder,
maybe like you, (like me), what they’re doing here.

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