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One Evening Overwhelmed By Hummingbird Wings

by C S Hughes about a month ago in sad poetry

On A Dusty Road

i was not quite half way there

when i died under yellow trees

with that glaucous scent

that always made me think of hummingbirds

their insistent wings, a blur of life

around a moment’s angular stillness

where i sang

small insensible songs

in the heat of evening

over berries sweet as mercies

growing wild

bursting on parched lips

a shred of skin

indistinguishable from

the remnants of evening

that dusky bruise

sweat cooling on my brow

with a whirring wingbeat heart

the world at last stops spinning

Someone said something rather terrible about my poem recently - that it needed editing. So here first is the raw, and following, the edited version. As you will see, the differences are negligible, and fairly arbitrary. If anything guides my poetic philosoph, it is a belief in the ecstasy of words, a submission to the unconscious processes of creation, and as you may gather, to edit such dishonours that moment, and the moment, in the real or the imagination, that inspired it.

But of course, each poem has its own moment; sometimes an inability to express the grandeur of the thought may entail some slight revision. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the poem’s the thing. Which is to say, the poem and its moment are as inseparable as a bird from its flight.

Of course this is the ideal, as well we know, the real seldom lives up to the ideal. To be absolutely honest, my first thought was, home, then I changed it to, there, for that slight and more ethereal euphony, then I unedited it back to, home.

Of course, I accept that other poets, and other poems, have different philosophies and techniques, indeed I will happily use them on occasion, it’s just that I’m not one to accept the derogation of my approach without response, even if it is just mostly to order my own thoughts.

Could this poem be improved by editing? Perhaps, but it would be a different moment, and thus a different poem.

I was not quite half way home

When I died under yellow trees

With that glaucous scent

That always made me think of hummingbirds

Their insistent wings –a blur of life

Around a moment’s angular stillness

Where I sang

Small insensible songs

In the heat of evening

Over berries sweet as mercies

Growing wild

Bursting on parched lips

A shred of skin

Indistinguishable from

The remnants of a fraught day’s journey

That dusky bruise

Sweat cooling on my brow

With a whirring wingbeat heart

The world at last stops spinning

sad poetry

C S Hughes

C S Hughes grew up on the edges of sea glass cities and dust red towns. He has been published online and on paper. His work tends to the lurid, and sometimes to the ludicrous, but seeks beauty in all its ecstasy and artifice.

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