I am a college librarian on a beautiful suburban campus right next to a large natural area. We have a lot of birds in residence and migrating through. This week some students found a hummingbird that had fallen on the sidewalk after hitting the windows of the classroom building. We tried to nurse it but it never was able to fly away. We passed it onto the professor who does a lot with birds and haven’t heard back if it survived. It was drinking sugar water and getting sleepy, sinking into torpor when I last saw it… (Link to Facts about Hummingbirds webpage).
To a Hummingbird Injured on Migration
Bright heart beating, slightly thrumming!
Cradled by my pulse, broken by this
school of glass and steel. Impact numbing,
zing of feathers, crumpled on the ground.
Who can splint such tiny, trembling bones?
Blessed hummer, you remembered every flower
till you fell in love with window tombstones.
Yet we offer sugar water, crooning low and sweet.
Defending warrior, rest your sword,
Torpor takes your warmth and light.
Meant to fly long miles to seaboard;
tiny toes were never made to stand.
Frail bones broken, wee wings warped
on the temple of our pride; how we
echo your distress! Brief hope corked
at your demise, here our wishes flounder.
Please take some time to visit my Poetry Sister's blogs and enjoy their poems too!
And save some time this weekend to explore the Friday Poetry Roundup at the Library Matters blog. Happy Fall!
Andi, this makes me so sad. But I love your turn of "Yet we offer..." We do the best we can, offering caring and love.
I'm so sorry 💔 and hope that you are fewer fatalities on your beautiful campus. This is hard to read but beautiful.
Long ago I found a hummingbird, but already dead, clearly had done the same thing, hit the window outside our school. We held a burial for it after taking pictures to keep it in our memory. Your experience captured in the poem is so sweet, Andi. I love the ending, showing the true feelings when something just doesn't work out: "here our wishes flounder".
A bird so tiny and industrious deserves better than to crash into glass and steel, and your poem captures that---and our flailing efforts to "make it all better." Tough topic, but we stay with you to the end because you allow us space to really see and tend to that bird in our thoughts, too. Thank you.
Your beautiful poem resonated so strongly with me, and I especiallyI love "cradled by my pulse." Poor sweet hummingbird. I came home today to find a cardinal on my doorstep. I'm not sure what caused his injury but suspect a window strike. I cradled him in my cupped hands and made a safe, warm spot for him inside. I'm hoping my wishes won't flounder and that he'll survive the night.
So very sad...and this but one example of all the birds felled by human constructions (or pesticides, or feral cats...
Thank you for your solemn pastoral Andromeda. It makes me ache for the conflict between our modern world and the natural one. It exemplifies at a micro level what is happening at the global one and so at the same time as I ache for this little bird, I am terrified for our world.
This poem -- this fragility -- makes me hold my breath. It's beautiful, Andi....
Poor hummer...your poem is a lovely tribute to it.
I love "Defending warrior, rest your sword" -- dignity fit for a hummingbird. Thanks for this touching poem.
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