“Before anything had a soul”

Our neighbors on both sides have a wide array of humming-bird feeders. However in the past week they have removed them and I discovered that they hang them from mid April through mid October after that these majestic, colorful and fast moving birds have moved south to warmer climes! Fortunately, whether it be those feeders on both sides or the plants growing in our own yard we do get to enjoy the humming birds for many months.

D.H. Lawrence must have enjoyed the humming-bird though he in his imagination is transported to another world or rather to the world before it really got going, and he gives pride and place to the humming-bird. In his imagination he takes us back perhaps before the story of creation, and certainly to a time in his words – long before anything had a soul! I share his poem with you today hoping his lines will allow you to use your imagination and ponder the possibilities but above all else to enjoy the beauty and wonder of the humming-bird as you know it summer after summer. Ponder for a moment the last line of the poem – I wonder what else we get wrong!


by D. H. Lawrence

I can imagine, in some otherworld
Primeval-dumb, far back
In that most awful stillness, that only gasped and hummed,
Humming-birds raced down the avenues.

Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of Matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chipped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.

I believe there were no flowers, then
In the world where the humming-bird flashed ahead of creation.
I believe he pierced the slow vegetable veins with his long beak.

Probably he was big
As mosses, and little lizards, they say, were once big.
Probably he was a jabbing, terrifying monster.

We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time,
Luckily for us.

Holy God,
as “Fall” begins to give way
to the approach of winter, these
days of beautiful sunshine
light up the hues of autumn.
As we walk in the woods, leaves
fall all around us, blessing us with
their silence and their softness.
We recall the warm summer days
and the beauty of the humming-bird
busy about its own business, working hard
to defy gravity, suspended in mid air, drawing
nectar from the flower, which shares it generously.
Lord God,
help us to be as generous with all your blessings.
Help us to be as generous to the stranger who
hovers or stops, hoping to find what is needed
to live the next day, and the day after that, beyond
that is too far into the future, too full of unknowing,
too full of danger, too full of repeating disappointment.
Lord God,
thank you for this gift of life and for the love
of family and friends.
Help us not to grab or hoard.
With silence and with softness
let us share.
With mercy and grace
let us welcome fellow travelers
in this one journey of life.
From today into tomorrow and from
tomorrow into the future
help us to be faithful and thankful in the
rich mixture of what we are
holy and human. Amen.

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