How humbly doth the hummstress brood!
In her woven thimble of moss and silk,
ensconced two eggs, their size minute
—here our hummer-hen nestles, astride her ilk
How quaint she looks, all tucked inside
A teacup’s worth, a lone mother’s pride
Is the fit quite snug? Will the perch hold fast?
Seems a miracle, that this coup should last
But last it does, and in a fortnight’s time
two chicks are hatched (whew! the whole family’s fine)
Such ugly, naked, precocial things:
one’s called Hummelia, the other, Hummphrey!
How frenetic and fleeting, their lives ahead!
A scant few years zipping, sipping sweets till they’re dead
Tiny hearts, spritely wings, a-thrumming and a-churn,
No ho-hum existence, this humdinger’s term
But does the hummingbird ever feel
hard-pressed to breathe free?
Or is its condition less ordeal
and more pure, saccharine fancy?
We’d as soon assume the latter,
but the latter belies the truth—
and the truth, it’s said, of the matter
is that life, by and large, lacks ruth