The hummingbird zooms in,
A semi-solid specter
Hovering in sight for an insufficient second,
Erect, wings beating impossibly fast.

Like the glorious idea
That flirts with the cloudy edge of my brain,
The hummingbird zips away, barely observed.
Neither one intends to be glimpsed again soon.

Now a woodpecker settles on a scraggly tree.
Tapping a few times along the branches
Until it senses me nearby and takes flight.

But moments later, fifty yards away,
It begins to knock out an uncomplicated rhythm.
The woodpecker’s message is clear and plain.

But the hummingbird promised wonder.


Chris Clark

May 30, 2010, for the Wakonse Conference on College Teaching

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