Hummingbirds and the nectar of inexhaustible love

One of the most beautiful songs I know is le Colibri by Chausson. I’ve been unable to find a version of the song that I can upload, but here’s a link to someone singing it on youtube:

This is the text…

The green hummingbird, the prince of the high hills,
seeing the dew and the clear sunlight
shining into his nest woven of fine grass,
lifts into the air like a brilliant dart.

Hurriedly he flies to the nearby spring
where the bamboo rustles like the sea
and the red hibiscus with its divine scent
opens its heart to light and moisture

Down to the flower he descends, and hovers
and drinks so much love from the rosy cup
that he dies, not knowing if he could ever exhaust it.

In exactly the same way, my beloved,
on your pure lips my soul wished to die,
drowning in the fragrance of your first kiss.

I was reminded irresistibly of this song by a poem by Paisley on a hummingbird who exhausts himself jealously defending the nectar feeder from other hummingbirds, when actually the supply of nectar isn’t going to run out, and he’s only cheating himself of the pleasure of fully tasting the gift!

Sometimes we don’t believe in our own good luck, in our own worth to be offered the full depth of joy and bliss in the heart of the flower. And so we become jealous, or pretend that we don’t actually want what is offered so freely.

And yet, having been myself in the position of offering a love very close to unconditional, I know how good it feels to have someone to whom we spontaneously wish offer that bounty. A joy that is, in the end, more powerful than the pain of having that gift rejected or abused.

As JM Coetzee puts it in the Age of Iron, “to be full enough to give and to give from one’s fullness: what deeper urge is there?”

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4 responses to “Hummingbirds and the nectar of inexhaustible love

  1. oh what an absolutely gorgeous song,, and the poem of the words reads like a dream… thank you so much for bringing all of this to me as my gift,, so freely given… i promise to take the time to savor and enjoy it……..

  2. You’re very welcome – glad you enjoyed this small gift!

  3. Wow, I’ve never seen a hummingbird that looks like that one.

    Personally, I like the wings to be blurred since that’s the way we actually see them.

    They look like figurines when the wings are frozen in time.

  4. Can’t remember what species it was – it lived in the Ecuadorian cloud forest, anyway. It’s the lack of sharpness that bothers me rather than the wings – though I do love the sunlight on the iridescent green feathers!

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