humming along


Hummphrey…or is it Hummelia?
(photo by jaz)

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


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