Friday, July 21, 2017

A Sultan at Sunset

Thirty feet up, the hummingbird hovered,
looking at sunset behind blue, wrinkled
Olympic Mountains. After a long day
of nectar-hauling, why not? Sitting facing

East, I watched the bird watch. I then
saw it trace with its body an enormous
precise circle in air.  Wondering what
or if this circle signified was a gift

grand enough for a sultan.  The invisible,
unforgettable shape suggested geometric
graffiti, avian ritual, or a secret signal
to the sun.  I almost applauded.

The whirring bird zipped off to close
the astounding performance: what a pro.
As Sultan, I decree my hummingbird
equal to Whitman's eagle, Poe's raven,

the crows of Ted Hughes and Al
Hitchcock, Shelley's and Mercer's
skylark, and Bukowski's murdered
mockingbird. (I refuse to discuss

Yeats's rapist Zeus-goose.) The effect of
this decree, the Sultan does not know.

hans ostrom 2017
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