Dark Rain Ahead, Hummingbird


Dark Rain Ahead, Hummingbird

The black-chinned hummer buzzes my flowered shirt,
bringing to mind the letter H, its history of an inferior life among

letters, and a Phoenician origin signifying fence.

An aspirate dependent upon others, or a line strung between posts,

even whispered, H does not contain itself.
Disconsolate or annoyed, the bird moves on.

Do names depend upon the power of symbols, or do they power the symbols?

In the 6th century A.D., Priscian disparaged H, saying it existed only to accompany.

Clouds shade the way.
The black-chin extends its grooved tongue at a rate of 15 licks per second.

Alone, the Hโ€™s voice is barely audible.

Through the trees, across the crushed rock driveway and beyond the barbed wire

and chain link, I hear deadfall snapping under hooves.
At rest, its heart beats an average of 480 beats per minute.

Modern Greek denies its existence.

Say khet, say honor and where. Say hinge, sigh and horse. Say depth.


Originally published in Prime Number Magazine, one of my favorite online literary journals, in 2013, ย it subsequently appeared here in June 2015.

33 thoughts on “Dark Rain Ahead, Hummingbird

  1. This post finds its way to me,
    as I’m huddled up with a book about typography.
    Ah, the magic of synchronicity!

    A little rusty there, unfortunately…but I think you may get the drift. ๐Ÿ˜†

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Say “Huh!” Lots of new information here (well, new to me) – cool how the hummingbird flits through your lines – given the dark rain we’re having right now, my blessings to all the little hummers (and others) deterred from their normal routines – we lucky humans can stay under cover and read poems in such weather!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hi Robert – this is one of those poems that asks me to read it multiple times; maybe because of the way the letter H and [the] hummingbird are blurred together but also because I can’t let go the image of “fence,” “line strung between posts,” ” barbed wire,” and even, “hinge.” I love the question in the middle about names and symbols; and the closing line feels rather sacred.

    Liked by 2 people

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