It’s Poetry Friday and I decided this was a good day to introduce the concept of using a more well-known poem as model for a poem of your own. I have a selection of them that I like to use with my students and one of my favorites is Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens. I like this because really, it is just another list. Make a list of thirteen different ways to look at something. It can be something as simple as your dog, your car, your bedroom. Or maybe you want to get fancy and try thirteen ways of looking at your job or a friendship. Just pick a topic and give it a try.

I decided to use this poem as an opportunity to say goodbye to Lily, the hummingbird who has built a nest in my yard but who did not get to see her eggs hatch. I’m sure I’ll be dinking with this poem for a while but it felt good to get a draft of this out. (You can click on the photo to see it larger, if you like.)

13 Ways of Looking at a Hummingbird

1
wings whirl
in place
my face
smiles
swivels
tiny dancer
chirps
cheeps
chitters
hello

2
greengold glitters glides
lands atop the waterfalls
shimmy shakes
a water dance

3
spider silk
blades of grass
lichen
moss
one gray hair
two red threads
building blocks
a mini mansion

4
picture pose
turn left
now right
chin up
hold still
I’ll keep my distance

5
in out
out in
tall wall
soft floor
ready wait
wait some more
egg one
egg two
soon
each morning
each evening
I check
just in case

6
the plum tree a
perfect preening place
ruffled nest feathers
bugs picked flicked
feathers smoothed
stretch once
stretch again
bask in the sun
before babies come

7
stormy days
stormy nights
quivery
shivery
forgetting generations
that came before
I worry
flashlight in hand

8
she disappears deep
within the overgrown honeysuckle
seeking bugs
protein power
for motherhood
alone
I measure
one nest
one half a walnut shell
one egg
one jellybean
one miracle
waiting to happen

9
my days equal
part
inspection
observation
research
photographs
my days equal
bliss

10
camera ready
I await her homecoming
hidden only slightly behind the fence
fifteen minutes
two hundred photographs
my mini model
is a star

11
morning comes
empty
no mama snug atop her nest
no tiny eggs safe and sound
no babies waiting
to say hello world
sometime between
the darkness and dawn
disaster

12
overcast and gray
rain soon
but I am stubborn
searching beneath the bushes
until I find evidence
until I find a tiny white shell
until it hits me
miracles don’t always come true

13
crying
crying
crying
camera clicks
shot after shot after shot
most will be out of focus
unable to capture the pain I feel
at all the days that should have been ahead
suddenly suspended beside me
close enough to almost touch
no chirp
no cheep
no chitter
she hovers there
ten seconds maybe more
just long enough
to say goodbye

– Susan Taylor Brown, all rights reserved

Your turn.

Tabatha Yeatts has the round-up for all the Poetry Friday posts. Take a look at some of the terrific poetry posts other people are sharing. And if you don’t have time to visit them all today, be sure to bookmark them to go back and visit later.