A Habit of Herbert Hummingbird
It was a habit of Herbert Hummingbird
to listen to his fridge.
Stood tall and white in his kitchen corner,
at odd times of the day, it woke,
and so the silence of linoleum and stone, it broke,
and became a bridge
to other worlds and far off times,
unmeasured by clocks of ticks and chimes,
a vent for voices of the otherwise unknown.
Sat in his chair,
he attended to each hum, grumble, moan.
Sounds not scary, but lonely, he could hear,
to rouse his curiosity, absurd to say his fear.
In his mind, he pictured what he thought they were like.
Some were surely the complaints of a primeval pike,
the low, cold groans and growls, it made,
as it hunted fish shoals, down in the deeps,
his head butting through ferns like a dark silver blade.
Others seemed, in a frozen flash,
like a water tank splash,
as wriggling and clenching, crustaceans clash.
The light tickling tones of a blind black dog fish,
finding its way with its feelers round an ocean cave floor,
seeped out through the slits of the severely shut door,
while startling his ears, a hiss,
like that from a half strangled serpent,
slithering free of struggle,
magnified in the pipes,
and what is more, he heard the hush of waves
as they broke on a far, pebbly shore.
Why his fridge made noises, his neighbours he would not ask,
only its makers would know what they mean.
To keep it clean was a little task,
in exchange, it kept his milk and fruit juice cold,
and rapt him in the tales it told.