Hello Tulips

This poem by Edgar Guest takes me back to a time soon after the Stock Market Crash in Oct 1929, when the world was plunged into the Great Depression. The winter of 1930 saw a double whammy happening: in the East the economy was sinking fast as jobs were being lost; in the West the drought had begun and was to last, generally, until Aug 1937. All this while Hitler’s armies were moving into various countries and war clouds were gathering over Europe. Yes, this old world has seen some pretty tough times. As Mr Guest points out, the flowers know nothing of financial woes.

Hello Tulips

Hello, tulips, don’t you know
stocks today are very low?
You appear so bright and glad;
don’t you know that trade is bad?
You are just as fair to see
as you were in times when we
rolled in money. Tell me how
you can look so happy now?

Hello, tulips, white and red,
gleaming in the garden bed.
Can it be you haven’t heard
all the grief which has occurred?
Don’t you see the saddened eye
of the human passer-by?
By his frowning, can’t you tell
things have not been going well?

Hello, tulips, in the sun
You are lovely, every one.
But I wonder, why don’t you
wear a sad, expression, too?
Can it be you fail to see
things aren’t what they used to be?
This old world is all upset;
why don’t you begin to fret?

And they answered me, “Hello.
Nothing’s altered that we know,
warm the sun and sweet the rain,
summer skies are blue again.
Birds are singing and we nod
grateful tulip prayers to God.
Only mortals fret and strive.
We are glad to be alive.”

From his book, The Collected Works of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

Flower Doctor

The Ragtag daily prompt yesterday was A FLOWER CRIED. I had something in mind and tweaked a poem I wrote some years back, but have been slow getting it posted. And here’s a Pixabay image I found to go with it.

Bee gathering.Criadero
A flower cries.
My lovely little blossoms
have sore throats,
a swelling, I suppose,
of too much nectar.

How co-operative you are,
pretty flower, so patient with that
bumbling Doctor Buzz
in his yellow-striped coat
as he pries open your silky jaws
and pushes his portly self
deep inside.

How willingly you put up with
hairy feet tickling,
his fat nose in your tonsils.
He mumbles to himself
as he pokes among
your tender stamens.
How funny that buzzing must feel
deep in your golden throat!

At last he discovers the problem
he wants to cure:
an abscess of sweetness;
to his delight
he manages to remove it all.
Then off he flies,
always in a rush to the next
swelling throat
not even washing his feet.

Skirmishes

On these cool-ish mornings I watch from my doorway as the hummers come to the two feeders I’ve set up. There appear to be about four juvies, though who can count such fast-moving flight artists.

I don’t know why they make hummingbird feeders with more than three holes. Perhaps in the land where they were designed, hummers know how to peacefully co-exist, but in our yard they behave much like humans. One feeder, one bird. If any other shows up, he or she is immediately urged to leave. Sometimes a few siblings can drink at the same feeder for a time, but mainly it seems to be, “This is mine. You beat it!”

Last summer I decided to hang a second feeder about a metre over and a metre lower than the main one. Occasionally I will see a bird at each, but more often the bird at the upper feeder will drive away the one wanting to light on the lower feeder. Sigh…

one hummingbird two feeders eight options zero tolerance

A few times this morning an oriole has come to the feeder to get his breakfast, so the syrup has gone down fast. I’m serving up a richer brew these days: 1 part sugar; 3 parts water. I’ve read they need more calories during migration — and that time will be coming soon. Though they be feisty little things, I hate to see them go.

I have a number of tubs of flowers on the step underneath the feeders, and planted two of them with red nicotiana this spring, thinking they’d appeal to hummers. As I observe, the hummers pretty much ignore the nicotiana blooms and seem to love my salvia and reddish-orange lantana blossoms. Duly noted for next spring. 🙂