That Was the Year of Black and White


Source Unknown

Source Unknown

That Was the Year of Black and White

That was the year of blackbirds feeding
on the lush lawn outside the window
of the room where my sister lay dying.

That was the year of black aphids
on the cherry trees—slowly gnawing,
slowly sucking dry hope of harvest.

That was the year of black clouds
pushing in from the West, banking
over the Sierra, withholding rain.

That was the year of a white hummingbird,
feathers like snow on that Easter morn.
That was the year of faith.

 

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

Linked for the “Black and White” prompt at dVerse Poetics–please join us. These little scenes are true, but actually occurerd in different years.

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55 thoughts on “That Was the Year of Black and White

  1. Jamie Dedes says:

    So hard to watch someone die, especially a loved one, but after the grief and despair comes hope, as so aptly suggested here. Well done,

    Like

  2. vbholmes says:

    Successful mood writing, Victoria–dark and sad, with metaphorical references, until the positive lift at the end. Very nice.

    Like

  3. The repetition was so effective in expressing how much pain and loss we can experience in a short time. I like the hope and faith that you share in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah.. yes.. the black of day and white of night.. become so much darker
    in times.. of turning black.. raven souls death in hearts of life..
    Oh.. the spirit of the black.. does dull the soul..
    but later memories of dark raven
    wings.. do inspire the hearty
    raven’s song.. in
    phoenix delight..
    By the way.. Ravens
    are okay.. they get
    Poe raps
    in
    metaphor
    dark feathers.. that
    still delight in flight of beak..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. MarinaSofia says:

    Simple repetition which works wonders here: the three blacks in a row, a time of desolation and then that slight glimpse of white and hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 5h2o says:

    Beautiful! Really.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kelvin s.m. says:

    I was sincerely touched by your poem today, Victoria. Initially, I was to write about blackbirds too for this prompt of black & white, but ended up sticking by the thought of night scenes. Your own for this challenge is simply exquisite. Thanks for the poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. billgncs says:

    very rich in emotion and metaphor Victoria – nicely done

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sherry Marr says:

    This poem is so beautiful, Victoria, loaded with memory and wonderfully powerful images……the white hummingbird – a spirit bird – is especially amazing, the more so as there is a photo of it. Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. rosross says:

    Opposites, the dance of life. Interestingly while black is a colour of mourning in many countries, in Hindu India, white is the colour of mourning. In India the white hummingbird would be a symbol of mourning.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The contrast of mood and emotion between first and last stanza is well demonstrated by the black and white imagery – A perfect example of the prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. kanzensakura says:

    I do like how you used poetic license to weave this into an incredible poem of faith and hope. And I am so glad you posted this after all. I’ve only seen a white hummer once. They truly do seem to be as mystic and rare as the unicorn. But……all the black and at the end – the white. Oh how very much I enjoyed this poem! It is hard to lose someone we love, to see them suffer but….that peace will certainly come when we least expect it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Truedessa says:

    Those blackbirds do seem to linger during difficult times. So sad when a loved one leaves for the other side. The hummingbird came on the wings of peace. I have never seen one.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Candy says:

    touching and hopeful

    Liked by 1 person

  15. lynn__ says:

    Blackbirds are raucous and mocking, i think…portent of death. Beautiful contrast of white hummer at Easter…wow! Like how you wove this into a year of faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Gabriella says:

    I like the way you conveyed pain and imminent death as well as hope through your use of color, without being cliché at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. kaykuala h says:

    When things seem bleak and depressing there is always one small corner of hope and salvation. The repetition works wonders Victoria!

    Hank

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh! That was quite a year!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Rather bleak until the ray of hope at the end. Quite lovely…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Grace says:

    I admire the positive affirmation at the end through all the challenges:
    That was the year of faith.

    Sometimes in the face of death & black clouds, we find our faith like the white hummingbird ~

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Mary says:

    Of all the blackness in this world, including the ultimate blackness of death, there are those reminders – such as the white hummingbird – that give us hope and help us keep the faith!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. whimsygizmo says:

    Stunning. So much hope in the ending.
    My favorite so far, for the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. X says:

    Those hard times really test our faith,and out of it can come some of our greatest triumphs. A tested faith is a strong faith — that endures.
    I like how you use black and white and set the mood with how it interacted in nature around you V.
    Nice relief in the end as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. annell4 says:

    Amazing black and white…thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Glenn Buttkus says:

    I agree, the white hummingbird is rare, angelic, & fascinating. Most would have used a white dove to continue the symbolism of the piece.
    I once sat on a log driftwood at the ocean, surrounded by gulls & crows, when I heard a crow utter, “crazy, all crazy”. It freaked me until I realized that crows & mina-birds are related.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. scillagrace says:

    A white hummingbird…what a marvel! Is that a species or a unique anomaly?

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are a rare entity call Leucistic Hummingbirds…not albino as those would have the characteristic pink eyes. There’s lots of info about them on the Internet. David took dozens of photos of him. He hung around from Easter until we left in May. (this was in the desert). It happened around 2011, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. I like this a lot. It reminded me of my own journey to stronger faith following the year my sister died. There were no blackbirds outside her hospital room window, but there was darkness. I love that you end with that beautiful white hummingbird. Peace, Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Oh the blackbird sounds so much more menacing than the one I know, and what a harbinger to have close when someone is dying… devastating. The white hummingbird… such a wonderful beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. claudia says:

    it is tough to watch a loved one dying… glad for the hummingbird… esp. after difficult times we need those glimpses of hope and beauty

    Liked by 1 person

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