A poem for the day – Dave says it must have been a Humming Bird Hawk Moth

It’s the weekend, and I’ve caused enough aggravation. Time to let someone else speak…

I’ve known Moyra Donaldson since the mid/late 90s, and from my first encounter with her work admired the gentleness and under-the-surface steel of her short lyrics. They read and sound low-key, almost casual asides, throwaway observations Far from it: there’s always a bite somewhere. This one, from her most recent collection Miracle Fruit, throws its last line so strongly that you’re tempted to think – where did that come from?

But what works for me is that the sheer disproportion of the punchline throws you back to the image that precedes it, one bird eating another bird that, going back to the title, probably isn’t a bird at all…

Dave says it must have been a Humming Bird Hawk Moth

Home from work, it’s hot; summer of ‘06. Getting out of the
car I see a tiny humming bird hovering at the mouth of a blossom.
I’m watching it drink, watching the blur of its wings, astounded
that I have brought this into my garden when the robin that
lives in the holly tree, flies out and swallows it.
I have witnessed the beginning of the end of the universe.

Author of four collections of poetry, the most recent, The resurrection of the Body at Killysuggen, published in June 2011 by Belfast’s Lagan Press. He blogs about his latest book on www.killysuggen.wordpress.com.

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