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Poem-A-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 200 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is now distributed via email, web, and social media to 350,000+ readers free of charge and is available for syndication. For more information about how to syndicate Poem-a-Day, contact poem-a-day@poets.org.

Hummingbird

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, August 21, 2017.
About this Poem 

“Inhabiting both earth and sky, birds serve, in many traditions, as emissaries from the afterlife, as they do in this poem. Here, I sought to combine the science of hummingbird metabolism, the cultural history of hummingbird mythology, and the personal history I associate with the bird. The words ‘visit,’ ‘resurrection’ and ‘hover’ contribute to the ‘otherworldly’ feeling hummingbirds generate in many who observe them.”
—Robin Becker

Hummingbird

I love the whir of the creature come
to visit the pink
flowers in the hanging basket as she does

most August mornings, hours away
from starvation to store
enough energy to survive overnight.

The Aztecs saw the refraction
of incident light on wings
as resurrection of fallen warriors.

In autumn, when daylight decreases
they double their body weight to survive
the flight across the Gulf of Mexico.

On next-to-nothing my mother
flew for 85 years; after her death
she hovered, a bird of bones and air.

Copyright © 2017 by Robin Becker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 21, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Robin Becker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 21, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

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