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Hummingbird Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Humming-Bird by Emily Dickinson
  2. The Hummingbird by Hermann Hagedorn
  3. Humming-Bird by Hilda Conkling
  4. The Humming-Bird by Richard Burton
  5. Humming-Bird by Alexander Wilson
  6. To a Humming-Bird by John Vance Cheney
  7. The Humming-Bird by Jones Very
  8. The Humming-Bird by Ira Billman
  9. The Humming-Bird by Laura M. Marquand
  10. The Humming-Bird by Anonymous
  11. A Humming-Bird by Edith Thomas
  12. Humming-Bird by T. A. Conrad
  13. The Humming-Bird by Maurice Thompson
  14. The Humming Bird by Edwin Markham
  15. The Hummingbird by Ivan Swift
  16. The Humming-Bird by Mary Howitt
  17. To a Ruby-Throated Humming-Bird by Laura Blackburn

  1. The Humming-Bird

    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.

  2. The Hummingbird

    by Hermann Hagedorn

    Through tree-top and clover a-whirr and away!
    Hi! little rover, stop and stay.

    Merry, absurd, excited wag—
    Lilliput-bird in Brobdingnag!

    Wild and free as the wild thrush, and warier—
    Was ever a bee merrier, airier?

    Wings folded so, a second or two—
    Was ever a crow more solemn than you?

    A-whirr again over the garden, away!
    Who calls, little rover? Bird or fay?

    Agleam and aglow, incarnate bliss!
    What do you know that we humans miss?

    In the lily's chalice, what rune, what spell,
    In the rose's palace, what do they tell

    (When the door you bob in, airily)
    That they hush from the robin, hide from the bee?—

    Fearing the crew of chatter and song,
    And tell to you of the chantless tongue?

    Chantless! Ah, yes. Is that the sting
    Masked in gay dress and whirring wing?

    Faith! But a wing of such airy stuff!
    What need to sing? Here's music enough.

    A-whirr, and over tree-top, and through!
    Hi little rover fair travel to you.

    Sweet, absurd, excited wag—
    Lilliput-bird in Brobdingnag!

  3. Humming-Bird

    by Hilda Conkling

    Why do you stand on the air
    And no sun shining?
    How can you hold yourself so still
    On raindrops sliding?
    They change and fall, they are not steady,
    But you do not know they are gone.
    Is there a silver wire
    I cannot see?
    Is the wind your perch?
    Raindrops slide down your little shoulders . . .
    They do not wet you:
    I think you are not real
    In your green feathers!
    You are not a humming-bird at all
    Standing on air above the garden!
    I dreamed you the way I dream fairies,
    Or the flower I lost yesterday!

  4. The Humming-Bird

    by Richard Burton

    Is it a monster bee,
    Or is it a midget bird,
    Or yet an air-born mystery
    That now yon marigold has stirred,
    And now on vocal wing
    To a neighbor bloom is whirred,
    In an aery ecstasy, in a passion of pilfering?

    Ah! 'tis the humming-bird,
    Rich-coated one,
    Ruby-throated one,
    That is not chosen for song,
    But throws its whole rapt sprite
    Into the secrets of flowers
    The summer days along,
    Into most odorous hours,
    Into a murmurous sound of wings too swift for sight!

  5. Humming-Bird

    by Alexander Wilson

    When the morning dawns, and the blest sun again
    Lifts his red glories from the eastern main,
    Then thro' our woodbines, wet with glittering dews,
    The flower-fed humming-bird his round pursues;
    Sips, with inserted tube, the honey'd blooms,
    And chirps his gratitude as round he roams;
    While richest roses, tho' in crimson drest,
    Shrink from the splendor of his gorgeous breast.
    What heavenly tints in mingling radiance fly,
    Each rapid movement gives a different dye;
    Like scales of burnish'd gold they dazzling show,
    Now sink to shade — now like a furnace glow!

  6. To a Humming-Bird

    by John Vance Cheney

    Voyager on golden air,
    Type of all that's fleet and fair,
    Incarnate gem,
    Live diadem
    Bird-beam of the summer day, —
    Whither on your sunny way?

    Loveliest of all lovely things,
    Roses open to your wings;
    Each gentle breast
    Would give you rest;
    Stay, forget lost Paradise,
    Star-bird fallen from happy skies.

    Vanished! Earth is not his home;
    Onward, onward must he roam
    Swift passion-thought,
    In rapture wrought,
    Issue of the soul's desire,
    Plumed with beauty and with fire.

  7. The Humming-Bird

    by Jones Very

    Like thoughts that flit across the mind,
    Leaving no lasting trace behind,
    The humming-bird darts to and fro,
    Comes, vanishes before we know.

    While thoughts may be but airy things
    That come and go on viewless wings,
    Nor form nor substance e'en possess,
    Nor number know, or more or less,

    This leaves an image, well defined,
    To be a picture of the mind;
    Its tiny form and colors bright
    In memory live, when lost to sight.

    There oft it comes at evening's hour,
    To flutter still from flower to flower;
    Then vanish midst the gathering shade,
    Its momentary visit paid.

  8. The Humming-Bird

    by Ira Billman

    So small and fair;
    A sun-dyed dew-drop born with wings.
    'Neath Salvia's coral cup it swings,
    And to the winded flower clings
    As if grown there.

    So neat and fair;
    An artist's dream of loveliness —
    Its form charms thro' a gauze-like dress
    Of rapid wings, that one might guess
    Was wrought of air.

    So wise and fair;
    A poet's thought that lives by stealth,
    From honeyed cups it drinks its health,
    With too much joy for making wealth
    To purchase care.

    So true and fair;
    Each change without affects its coat;
    A fire bell blazes on its throat;
    Yet still it chirps the one clear note
    Blown everywhere!

    So sweet and fair;
    Its mellow hum hath magic powers.
    To wake to life dead summer hours —
    Fond memories fresh as fragrant flowers,
    In winter bare.

  9. The Humming-Bird

    by Laura M. Marquand

    There is a silence in this summer day,
    And in the sweet, soft air no faintest sound
    But gentle breezes passing on their way,
    Just stirring phantom branches on the ground;
    While in between the softly moving leaves,
    Down to their shadows on the grass below,
    The brilliant sunshine finds its way and weaves
    A thousand patterns glancing to and fro.

    A peace ineffable, a beauty rare
    Holds human hearts with touch we know divine.
    When, hush! — a little tumult in the air;
    A rush of tiny wings, a something, fine
    And frail, darting in fiery haste, all free
    In every motion; scarce we've seen or heard
    Ere it is gone! How can such swiftness be
    Incarnate in an atom of a bird!
    To know this mite, one instant poised in space,
    Scarce tangible, yet seen, then vanishing
    From out our ken, leaving no slightest trace!
    Ah, whither gone, you glowing jewelled thing?
    Before you came the very air seemed stilled;
    More silent now because with wonder filled.

    And a soft bass is heard
    From the quick pinions of the humming-bird.

    – William Cullen Bryant
    Our Fellow Worshippers
  10. The Humming-Bird

    by Anonymous

    Emerald-plumèd, ruby-throated,
    Flashing like a fair star
    Where the humid, dew-becoated,
    Sun-illumined blossoms are —
    See the fleet humming-bird!
    Hark to his humming, heard
    Loud as the whirr of a fairy king's car!
    Sightliest, sprightliest, lightest, and brightest one,
    Child of the summer sun,
    Shining afar!

    Brave little humming-bird!
    Every eye blesses thee;
    Sunlight caresses thee,
    Forest and field are the fairest for thee,
    Blooms, at thy coming stirred,
    Bend on each brittle stem,
    Nod to the little gem,
    Bow to the humming-bird, frolic and free.
    Now around the woodbine hovering
    Now the morning-glory covering,
    Now the honeysuckle sipping,
    Now the sweet clematis tipping,
    Now into the bluebell dipping;
    Hither, thither, flashing, bright'ning,
    Like a streak of emerald lightning;
    Round the box, with milk-white phlox;
    Round the fragrant four-o'clocks;
    O'er the crimson quamoclit,
    Lightly dost thou wheel and flit;
    Into each tubèd throat
    Dives little Ruby-throat.

    Bright-glowing airy thing,
    Light-going fairy thing,
    Not the grand lyre-bird
    Rivals thee, splendid one! —
    Fairy-attended one
    Green-coated fire-bird!
    Shiniest fragile one,
    Tiniest agile one,
    Falcon and eagle tremble before thee!
    Dim is the regal peacock and lory,
    And the pheasant, iridescent,
    Pales before the gleam and glory
    Of the jewel-change incessant
    When the sun is streaming o'er thee!

    Hear thy soft humming,
    Like a sylph's drumming!

  11. A Humming-Bird

    by Edith Thomas

    Somewhere I've seen thee, strange sprite,
    Somewhere I've known thee ere now,
    Among the wild broods of the night
    That nest on the Morphean bough!

    Thou with a silent throat
    Dost busily rifle all blooms;
    O flitter-winged bandit, thy note
    Is the bee's song shed from thy plumes!

    Whisper those things in my ear,
    That thou art so ready to tell
    To creatures too heedless to hear, —
    The lily, the foxglove's bell!

    Aha! is it so? — By these eyes,
    Prospero's servant I see, —
    Ariel clad in the guise
    Of a humming-bird lightsome and free!

    Overhead on a maple prong
    The least of birds, a jewelled sprite,
    With burnished throat and needle bill,
    Wags his head in the golden light,
    Till it flashes, and dulls, and flashes bright,
    Cheeping his microscopic song.

    – Edward Sill
    Field Notes
  12. Humming-Bird

    by T. A. Conrad

    Thou tiny spirit of the air,
    With sylph-like motion, glad and free;
    Who can thy meteor presence spare,
    Whose childhood passed near thee?
    For near our door thou lov'st to dip
    Thy bill in the bignonia's bloom
    And of its nectar juices sip
    'Mid summer's choice perfume.

  13. The Humming-Bird

    by Maurice Thompson

    Poised in a sheeny mist
    Of the dust of bloom,
    Clasped to the poppy's breast and kissed,
    Baptized in violet perfume
    From foot to plume!

    Zephyr loves thy wings
    Above all lovable things,
    And brings them gifts with rapturous murmurings:
    Thine is the golden reach of blooming hours;
    Spirit of flowers!

    Music follows thee,
    And, continually,
    Thy life is changed and sweetened happily,
    Having no more than roseleaf shade of gloom,
    O bird of bloom!

    Thou art a wingèd thought
    Of tropical hours,
    With all the tropic's rare bloom-splendor fraught,
    Surcharged with beauty's indefinable powers,
    Angel of flowers!

  14. The Humming Bird

    by Edwin Markham

    Tell me, O Rose, what thing it is
    That now appears, now vanishes?
    Surely it took its fire-green hue
    From daybreaks that it glittered through;
    Quick, for this sparkle of the dawn
    Glints through the garden and is gone!
    What was the message, Rose, what word:
    Delight foretold, or hope deferred

  15. The Hummingbird

    by Ivan Swift

    When langourous noons entreat the summer sky,
    And restive spirits vex the ways of men
    In vain emprise; within my garden then
    Will I elect to let the world go by,
    And watch the hummingbird. Not seen to fly,
    He comes and vanishes and comes again
    And sips the sweets of honeysuckles when
    Their lips are frail―but leaves them not to die.

    So I have thought how good it were to be This ruthful corsair, bent on such pursuit,
    Against the wear of my foreplanning hours;―
    How good it were to live thus liegelessly
    Upon the world's unreckoned blossom-loot―
    Yet spare from any harm its guarded flowers!

  16. To a Ruby-Throated Humming-Bird

    by Laura Blackburn

    Aristocrat of birds (thy summer spent
    Near Arctic snows, thy winter passed beside
    The tropic seas thou and thy dainty bride),
    How thou must scorn the zone where we are pent.
    Fearless darter through the blue firmament,
    I bid thee hail, and here denounce the pride
    That in man's heart, like Caliban, doth hide,
    Whilst thou upon thy Ariel quests art bent.
    Alas! for all the cravings of the soul,
    We only in imagination soar,
    Only in dreams we taste ambrosial sweets;
    But thou, O bird, commander of thy goal,
    Dost quaff thy wine within the bright retreats
    Of joy, and fold thy wings at Beauty's door.

  17. The Humming-Bird

    by Mary Howitt

    The humming-bird! the humming-bird!
    So fairy-like and bright:
    It lives among the sunny flowers,
    A creature of delight!

    In the radiant islands of the East,
    Where fragrant spices grow,
    A thousand, thousand humming-birds
    Go glancing to and fro.

    Like living fires they flit about,
    Scarce larger than a bee,
    Among the broad palmetto leaves,
    And through the fan-palm tree.

    And in those wild and verdant woods,
    Where stately mosses tower,
    Where hangs from branching tree to tree
    The scarlet passion flower;

    Where on the mighty river banks,
    La Plate and Amazon,
    The cayman, like an old tree trunk,
    Lies basking in the sun;

    There builds her nest the humming-bird,
    Within the ancient wood -
    Her nest of silky cotton down -
    And rears her tiny brood.

    She hangs it to a slender twig,
    Where waves it light and free,
    As the campanero tolls his song,
    And rocks the mighty tree.

    All crimson is her shining breast,
    Like to the red, red rose;
    Her wing is the changeful green and blue
    That the neck of the peacock shows.

    Thou, happy, happy humming-bird,
    No winter round thee lours;
    Thou never saw'st a leafless tree,
    Nor land without sweet flowers.

    A reign of summer joyfulness
    To thee for life is given;
    Thy food, the honey from the flower,
    Thy drink, the dew from heaven!

    And the humming bird that hung
    Like a jewel up among
    The tilted honeysuckle horns
    They mesmerized and swung
    In the palpitating air
    Drowsed with odors strange and rare
    And with whispered laughter slipped away
    And left him hanging there

    – James Whitcomb Riley
    The South Wind and the Sun

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