Hummingbirds Never Know the Words

Hummingbirds Never Know the Words

Hummingbirds
Never know the words
Because they’re in too big a hurry
To ever stop and worry.
They move on to the next flower and
If the nectar isn’t sour
Then they will take a sip . . . .

“Hmmmmmmm,” hummed the hummingbird. “Tra la la,
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

One flower down, only nine hundred ninety-nine to go–
Not that I’m counting, but scientists, ornithologists,
I am told–with their slide-rules and microscopes,
And their probes, have clocked us at a rate of a
Thousand flowers per diem, which is the fancy-pants
Scientists’ way of saying per day. In Latin, no less,
Only used now in surgical–or situations liturgical,
Or when naming the flora and fauna, by genus and species,
Like calling me Calliphlox amethystina ‘stead of plain old
Amethyst Woodstar, or Metallura phoebe for Black Metaltail.
Heliothryx aurita for Black-eared Fairy;
Lesbia victoriae for Black-tailed Trainbearer;
Trochilus scitulus for Black-billed Streamertail!

One thousand per day! ‘Hmmmmm,’ the scientists say.
‘That’s a lot of nectar.’

A heck of a lot of nectar. Hmmmmmmmmmmm, and tra la la la.
But it takes a heck of a lot of nectar to fuel this plane.
I never stop to count the flowers. Hmmmmmm?
I guess you could say, ‘I wing it.’

While wending my way through the warp and woof of time,
Weaving my way through the warp and the weft,
Why worry about words and whether they rhyme?
Why wonder what word best describes my emotion?
When what really matters is: my wings are in motion.

The tortoise, porcupine, or possibly opossum,
Move at a pace where such notions may blossom.
Maybe a mirror in a palace of perfection
Could afford the luxury to support such idle reflection?

I have not the time, as I hover in space.
Look how fast I have to flap my wings
To remain in the air,
Suspended in one place?”

Hummingbirds
Never know the words
Because they’re in too big a hurry
To ever learn the lyrics–
Discuss philosophy with clerics
In the middle of a circus.
No, they’ll leave that to the poets.
Words are all they have to work with.

By Christopher Robert Craddock © 2017

This entry was posted in poetry.

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