Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Hummingbird
Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate
Appleton’s Ellen Taylor is a poet and a professor at the University of Maine, Augusta. This week she offers two poems in different moods about birds — one wild and the other domestic.
Hummingbird by Ellen M. Taylor
A hummingbird’s heart beats 250 times per minute when resting and 1200 times while feeding. A surprise can trigger cardiac arrest, as his tiny heart cannot withstand further stress.I mourn the ruby-throated juvenile anxiously feeding in the phlox this still September morning. His whirring startled me while I knelt to deadhead pansies — I swatted at the sound, and he fell.
How does she do it, create such perfect spheres within her feathered body? Every twenty-four hours she leaves us, still warm, an umber shell, inside it a yolk, ochre and richer than butter, nested in white clear as rainwater. She coos and clucks with content.
Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2009 by Ellen M. Taylor. Reprinted from Floating, Moon Pie Press, 2009, by permission of Ellen M. Taylor. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-228-8263.