Standing on Air

by the Rev. Charlie Dupree

I’ve been spending a lot of time watching hummingbirds. They visit our feeder, stealing quick sips. What amazing creatures. Do you think God thought, “I think I’ll make something fast as lightening with wings like tiny engines. I think I’ll make something they can never get their hands on.” Like jet fighters, they race and chirp. Are they playing? Fighting? Bickering? They don’t stick around long enough to answer the question.

Here’s a poem. Information about the poet is below.


The Hummingbird

by Hilda Conkling

Why do you stand on the air

And no sun shining?

How can you hold yourself so still

On raindrops sliding?

They change and fall, they are not steady,

But you do not know they are gone.

Is there a silver wire

I cannot see?

Is the wind your perch?

Raindrops slide down your little shoulders . . .

They do not wet you:

I think you are not real

In your green feathers!

You are not a humming-bird at all

Standing on air above the garden!

I dreamed you the way I dream fairies,

Or the flower I lost yesterday!

The daughter of poet Grace Hazard Conkling, Hilda Conkling (1910-1986) grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, where her mother was a professor of English at Smith College. A kind of child-poet prodigy, Conkling composed her entire body of poetic work between the ages of four and 14. Her mother transcribed her spoken work and submitted it for publication. Hilda’s first publication, in Poetry, came when she was six years old, and her work would later appear in Good Housekeeping and the Nation. (


I hope you get a holy visit from a hummingbird.

See you in church,

Charlie+ (he/him)