An October visitor has lately surprised me, sipping sage in the garden as the maples and oaks and hackberries and dogwoods show red and yellow and gold… 

Each day I wonder: is this our last together? And think: perhaps that is the not the right question.

It seems a good day for this poem by English poet Mark Roper


Not just how
it hung so still
in the quick of its wings,
all gem and temper
anchored in air;

not just the way
it moved from shelf
to shelf of air,
up down, here there,
without moving;

not just how it flicked
its tongue’s thread
through each butter-yellow
foxglove flower
for its fix of sugar;

not just the vest’s
electric emerald,
the scarf’s scarlet,
not just the fury
of its berry-sized heart,

but also how the bird
would soon be found
in a tree nearby,
quiet as moss at the end
of a bare branch,

wings closed around
its sweetening being,
and then how light
might touch its throat
and make it glow,

as if it were the tip
of a cigarette
on the lip of a world,
whose face,

in the lake’s hush
and the stir of leaves,
might appear
for a moment


For a close reading of Mark Roper’s “Hummingbird”, check out this article in The Guardian