Poetry Friday–Hummingbird

Happy Poetry Friday!

I caught a few moments of a lovely female ruby-throated hummingbird while painting outside last week…


hovers by my side
with windmill-wings
and inquisitive eyes,

eyes that gaze into mine
without a wink, in steady line
till body side-juts over,
above and flash–away…

away till they return to
sip sweet nectar, and then
as if pulled skyward by string,
tree-bound for torpor night snooze

© 2022 Michelle Kogan

Torpor–when their body temperature drops to preserve energy, allowing them to rest and keep them warm for they get cold very easily, and the cold can kill them.

WIP– Ruby-throated female hummingbird with milkweed, pod © 2022 Michelle Kogan, oil on canvas.

Emily Dickinson was taken with hummingbirds too…

by Emily Dickinson

A Route of Evanescence,
With a revolving Wheel –
A Resonance of Emerald
A Rush of Cochineal –

Read the rest of the poem here.

Here’s some commentary on Emily Dickinson’s poem.https://www.shmoop.com/study-guides/poetry/route-of-evanescence/summary

Kathryn Apel at her blog by the same name is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Kat! She’s sharing her exciting poetry and book focused last few months along with some poetry swap poems, be sure to stop by!

About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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16 Responses to Poetry Friday–Hummingbird

  1. Tim Kulp says:

    Thanks for sharing the poem and painting Michelle! Torpor was interesting to me because in a game I used to play, there was the concept of Torpor. It was the deep sleep of ancient vampires where they hibernated for centuries in what appeared to be death but of course, they’re vampires. 🙂 Thanks again for the share and the fun memories of a game I really enjoyed as a kid.

  2. katswhiskers says:

    Windmill wings! How perfect. You have conveyed the movement of the hummingbird so effectively in this poem. I feel like I’ve seen one.

  3. Denise Krebs says:

    Michelle, your poem about hummingbirds somehow has the rhythm of the bird in flight. There are so many lines that help us see the movements. Some of my favorite images are here (but I could go on):

    “with windmill-wings
    and inquisitive eyes,”

    “till body side-juts over,
    above and flash–away…”

    “as if pulled skyward by string”

    And I learned a new word–torpor.


  4. lindabaie says:

    Denise is right, your poem is full of movement, Michelle. I have seen many this year but I don’t feed them. They were here mostly when the day lilies bloomed. I do love that final line: “torpor night snooze” & that you explained it, too. And then there’s Emily, the vision and the rhyme with “Cochineal”. Thanks for that bonus.

  5. gailaldousmsncom says:

    Michelle, I agree with Linda and Denise about how your lines convey the movement of the ruby throated hummingbird. I especially love these lines in your poem “windmill-wings/ and inquisitive eyes,” and “pulled skyward by string.” I love how all the sounds of alliteration, assonance, consonance, and rhyme make your poem sing! Thank you for including Emily’s poem on hummingbirds. I have been fortunate to see quite a few ruby throated hummingbirds this summer and each time it was a thrill to see how fast they are. Thank you for sharing your oil painting, also, and always your inspiration.

  6. maryleehahn says:

    You captured the movement of hummingbirds perfectly with your words! I don’t have a feeder, unless you count the coral bells for the early hummers, and the zinnias and sweet peas for the rest of the summer into fall. I won’t watch one move without remembering your “side-jut” and “pulled skyward by string.”

  7. jama says:

    Love your poem – you’ve captured the hummer’s movement perfectly. “pulled skyward by string” — something that wouldn’t have occurred to me, so clever and spot on! Thanks for the Emily fix too!!

  8. margaretsmn says:

    Your poem captures the movement of the hummingbird. I like the form you use with the end word beginning the next stanza. I also love “windmill-wings.”

  9. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, I saw my first hummingbird after moving into my community. Your poem brought back the scene: the quick movement, the return. Your artwork is a great example of the hummingbird’s flight. Thanks for sharing the vivid word play in Emily’s poem.

  10. Linda says:

    I love watching hummingbirds! I didn’t know about torpor, so I learned something new. Lovely poem!

  11. macrush53 says:

    Hummingbirds are so magical. I love the word, torpor and what it means for our wee friends.

  12. Linda Mitchell says:

    oooooh! I love your hummingbird poem with a touch of science term in it. This is the kind of poem I love to share with my middle school students. Is it Ok to do that? I love seeing the delicate little birds. They are such a joy.

  13. Your poem idea of where to next for your winged messenger is beautifully evocative as is your painting. Our hummers are visiting us daily & it’s always a guess, from where, to where?

  14. rosecappelli says:

    Love those windmill wings. Lovely, Michelle!

  15. Hummingbirds are incredible! Your poem and painting capture their beauty and mystery perfectly. And thank you for sharing the Emily Dickinson. Evanescence is such a great word!

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