Sunday, October 31, 2010

Summer Story

When the hummingbird
sinks its face
into the trumpet vine
and the funnels

of the blossoms,
and the tongue
leaps out
and throbs,

I am scorched
to realize once again
how many small, available things
are in the world

that aren’t
pieces of gold
or power–
that nobody owns

or could buy even
for a hillside of money–
that just
float about the world,

or drift over the fields,
or into the gardens,
and into the tents of the vines
and how here I am

spending my time,
as the saying goes,
watching until the watching turns into feeling
so that I feel I am myself

a small bird
with a terrible hunger
with a thin beak probing and dipping
and a heart that races so fast

it is only a heartbeat ahead of breaking
and I am the hunger and the assuagement
and also I am the leaves and the blossoms,
and, like them, I am full of delight and shaking

These are Los Dias de los Muertos – the days of the dead, and all Souls and Saints days. I cannot arise this morning without death before me, and recalling the Aztec cultures that brings us these traditions in part. Stories and myths about hummingbirds abound in the Aztec culture, a bird who brings bounty as well as mediates death and rebirth. Without consciously putting all this together, this morning I donned hummingbird earrings. Then I sat down to read my poem of the day, and here is Mary speaking of hummers.

Her poem mediates my deep hunger and vulnerability. I long for a world where beauty and care abound. Given our lack of justice I am but a small bird amongst mountains and storms. What can I do when death and oppression threatens? I am thinking that I can dip my tiny self into my inner being and see the earth’s heart breaking. This is so scary for it means I am nothing, but a feather falling to the earth, or floating up to the sky. May we this day give up everything, so that we may receive everything.

What does this time of Samhain, Halloween, and these Days of the Dead mean to you? Where do you feel small or feel death?

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