Many readers here will remember the story of Lily, the hummingbird who built a nest in my backyard this past spring and set me off on a new life journey with my camera. I wrote some poetry about her at the time but then, after the tragedy with her eggs, I found it hard to go back and revisit the story. Now enough time has passed and enough new hummingbirds have crossed my path that I feel I can begin to try and capture more of that wonderful experience in word to accompany the many photographs.

Today’s poem actually had its beginning back in April when I was doing Kick the Poetry Can’ts for National Poetry Month. You can read the first draft which had its beginning in a poetry exercise that eventually led me to this poem, Learning to See.




Outside my office door
an aging Japanese maple begins the garden
her dress trimmed in deep green
lady ferns and soft baby tears
edged with purple violets,
yellow-eyed grass
a wetlands wonderland bordered
by bubbling water rocks.

Beyond the maple tree
a toyon waits to grow.

On stormy days its stick-arms
bend, break, then bend again
like a skeleton
shadow dancing  against the fence.

Within the bush
(no tree itself, at least not yet)
branches zig zag toward the sun
a modern highway for ants and aphids
a picnic place for spiders
a sunny spot for birds to perch, to preen
after a midday bath.

Along the branch
dark green leaves cluster like a fan
protect the jewel nestled
oh so carefully
in the vee that meets the trunk
hiding a secret I could not find
without the help of a friend.

Behind all the leaves
there sits a tiny nest
woven with bits of spider webs
scraps of dryer lint
white downy feathers
a so-soft bed newly made
waiting to hold the tiny eggs
from the tiny dancer.

Now I understand
all those days
the dog refused to budge
from her post on the path
all those days she watched
the coming and going
of the ambitious architect
all those days she knew
something magical was happening
right before our eyes
when all I saw was her stubbornness
that made her refuse to come
when I called her name.

–Susan Taylor Brown, all rights reserved


Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has the whole great big Poetry Friday roundup today at The Poem Farm.

Also a reminder that over in my Etsy shop, Poppiness,  (which has hummingbird calendars, prints, notecards and more) you can get a 10% discount on everything in the entire shop today just because you are a supporter of Poetry Friday.  Just be sure to use the coupon code PF2012at checkout.