Hummingbird Poetry

Emily Dickinson D. H. Lawrence | Harry Kemp | Larry Gates

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by D.H. Lawrence

I can imagine, in some otherworld
Primeval-dumb, far back
In that most awful stillness, that only gasped and hummed,
Humming-birds raced down the avenues.

Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chipped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.

I believe there were no flowers then,
In the world where the humming-bird flashed ahead of creation.
I believe he pierced the slow vegetable veins with his long beak.

Probably he was big
As mosses, and little lizards, they say, were once big.
Probably he was a jabbing, terrifying monster.

We look at him through the wrong end of the telescope of Time,
Luckily for us.


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Within My Garden, rides a Bird

by Emily Dickinson

Within my Garden, rides a Bird
Upon a single Wheel --
Whose spokes a dizzy Music make
As 'twere a travelling Mill --

He never stops, but slackens
Above the Ripest Rose --
Partakes without alighting
And praises as he goes,

Till every spice is tasted --
And then his Fairy Gig
Reels in remoter atmospheres --
And I rejoin my Dog,

And He and I, perplex us,
If positive, 'twere we --
Or bore the Garden in the Brain
This Curiosity --

But He, the best Logician,
Refers my clumsy eye --
To just vibrating Blossoms!
An Exquisite Reply!

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A Route of Evanescence

by Emily Dickinson

A Route of Evanescence
With a revolving Wheel --
A Resonance of Emerald --
A Rush of Cochineal --
And every Blossom on the Bush
Adjusts its tumbled Head --
The mail from Tunis, probably,
An easy Morning's Ride --

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The Hummingbird

by Harry Kemp

The sunlight speaks.  And it's voice is a bird:

It glitters half-guessed half seen half-heard

Above the flower bed. Over the lawn ...

A flashing dip and it is gone.

And all it lends to the eye is this --

A sunbeam giving the air a kiss.

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1998 Larry Gates


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awake at dawn

darting through strands of mist

the flower-seeker


out of heaven

still glittering

the hummingbird

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two fighting hummingbirds

rise slowly through leaves

not touching

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a thousand facets of metallic light

turning his head

he darkens


soul slips out of my body

and chases

the hummingbird


another hummingbird darkens

and flies off

towards the rainbow


sunlit raindrops

explode around

the hovering hummingbird


a day of dreams

the garden and the hummingbird

float on my breath

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under the vast dome

of the sky

two hummingbirds are fighting


little bird

at my face

you make me real


deep summer

the hummingbird disappears

inside a flower


tiny hummingbird

hovering before my nose

what is your name?


a thousand nows

the busy hummingbird

in the garden


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time slows

as the hummingbird approaches

the flower


fully open

the red flower accepts

the hummingbird


curved space

every trajectory

ends at a flower


the dueling hummingbirds

do not see

the rainbow


too many words

I sip tea

and gaze at the hummingbird

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wind and sunlight --

a floating world of hummingbirds

in the flower garden

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The present moment

hovering before

a flower


a bell rings

the hummingbird selects

another flower



wordless flowers


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this will save the world

a hummingbird chasing flowers

in the wind


fuschia from below

he lingers

as long stamens touch his throat


as we garden on hands and knees

a hummingbirds tastes

the unplanted flowers

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He is Jack and I the giant

my face a massive landscape

with crevices and outcrops


nothing else matters

the hummingbird has become

the moving arrow of time


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whirring wings

as time vanishes

before a blue flower


mountains and the quiet smile

of my wife

a hummingbird darts between us


The hummingbird flies off

I sense it is I that  is moving

backwards and out of control



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