“Lessons of the Hummingbird”

This poem by Douglas LePan published in 1970 is a literary parallel to Tinning’s sketch.

Hummingbird Sketches 1938; ink on paper; 9″x6″; MJMAG

“It suggests we could have our own kind of ecstasy
if we would. At least it doesn’t exist in Europe,
this tiny heart that keeps the wings so furiously beating
till time stands still, in a transparency,
a clot of deeper light on the sunlight over the rock
rose trellised on a stem of air.
Sun, sweetness, savagery
distilled into a drop from the rainbow’s edge
a promise of love and freedom that the heart drinks up
and, losing it, grieves
as it darts away and is lost in the light through the pine trees.
But stand in the clearing and wait. Again
a deep kiss from nowhere can pierce the savage trembling silence.”

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