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Painting the Hummingbird

Posted in Poetry

Hummingbird on four pieces

There’s a hummingbird I’d like to paint–

Well, not the hummingbird itself;

That would be a chore set by an idiot:

“Here’s a paintbrush, now go find the hummingbird

And give her a refresh.

Then polish the eavestrough.”

Could be a euphemism for slothfulness:

Frank’s off ‘painting the hummingbird,’

As usual.


It is only a
 hummingbird image I am after, 

Wielding nothing but brushes and paint,

Not to trap it, only

Welcoming its likeness 

Onto my canvas,

And I normally would get right to it, but am

Sifting the wrong assumption

That humour,

And vulnerability

Must be kept separate.

Like jam.

To fuss when you find peanut butter in the jam jar is

To miss a tasty treat on a spoon,

Handy when you are quick on your way out the door,

Perhaps charged with painting a live,

Remarkable always,


To be vulnerable and precious,

Is to pretend to be vulnerable,

Like grocery store art,

Pretending to be art,

Tolerable possibly, though sadly,

With a free jar of jam.

To be vulnerable,

To be fully present,

Heart open,

Is to transcend time and space,

To acknowledge mortality but as a

Vibrant threshold.

Here, in the greatness, and also the


Life has humour:

The funniest thing is the anemic righteous

Choking on a laugh.

Death isn’t funny.

Also, death is funny.

I once wrote a scene where an elderly man

In a Tilly hat,

Died from a heart attack after he was pranked,


When he opened the outhouse door to find

An automated fish

That moved and sang.

Try the veal, I’ll be here all week.

I can still sit on the pavement

With an addict, and

Feel so much love.


Now, to the hummingbird.