Calliope Hummingbird and Circles

a pastel and poem by Ethel Mortenson Davis


When I drive
through the desert,
I keep the windows rolled down
and usually hear a few notes
from the meadow lark.
New Mexico is full of bird life.

This morning, after last night’s shower,
I heard the clicks
of the Rufus hummingbird
through my car’s open window-
a metallic pinging sound-
like electric highline wires make
when you stand under them.

The hummingbird kisses
the delicate circuits
of the eco-systems.

In the north
the snowmobiles run
the gray wolf to exhaustion.
Once the gray wolf
was chased with dog sleds
or snow-shoes
and had a chance
to escape.

The wolf bites at his body
where the bullet enters,
shattering his flesh and bone,
shattering the delicate circles of life.


Filed under Art, Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

9 responses to “Calliope Hummingbird and Circles

  1. Scriptor Obscura

    I don’t think I have the words to say what a poem and work of art this is. So I will just say…wow. Amazing. The imagery here is lingering, haunting, astounding, wow!!! I love this work of art, the poem is excellent.

    I am amazed by the consistent creativity, depth, sheer excellence of this site. This site is one of the best on WordPress, in my opinion. I don’t say that lightly. The talent is amazing. And the people here are the best around.

  2. I must agree totally with what Scriptor Obscura said! Both the artwork and the poem are astonishing in their power.

  3. Anna Mark

    After reading the poem, the piercing hummingbird eye is also the wolf’s bullet. Circles.

  4. This is just fantastic Ethel – a whole story in a beautifully written poem


  5. Julie Catherine

    Ethel, what a stunning, wonderful work of art – both the painting and the poem … and your poem is so powerful in its writing and message. I am in awe of yours and Thomas’s skills …..

  6. Ina

    hi Ethel and Thomas
    This is such a lovely painting of the hummingbird (kolibri in Dutch) and a wonderful poem. That bullit shattering the circle of life… given words to our guilty conscience as humans!

  7. sandy

    Nice artwork, and poem to think about.

  8. Wonderful contrast between the hummingbird’s interaction with her God-given sphere of reference and the poor wolf’s interaction with those horrible machines and bullets,tools of the devil!

  9. May I also echo what Scriptor Obscura commented? It is so true. The posts here always offer so much for contemplation, insight and feeling, as well as great enjoyment. This is my favorite pastel of yours, Ethel–then I am so in love with hummingbirds. They should be ‘showing up’ any day here in Western New York (we have the ruby throated). Once again your poetry is a dance of delicacy and darkness…the easy beauty and constant struggle of nature as some of mankind feels the perverse need to own and control it, with such a potential for cruely and destruction.

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