Through the lens of nature, poet Betsy Fogelman Tighe reveals a practical and inclusive form of worship in “My Spiritual Practice”. Just as the hummingbird in the poem, descending to blossom after blossom to feed, the narrator reveals a penchant for brief forays into the diverse faiths of human civilization, taking what is needed. Betsy shows readers that faith can be mercurial and fluid, something mixed and shared and blended, as opposed to something solely rigid, with defended stark boundaries that don’t allow exploration or liberation.
My Spiritual Practice
Hummingbird hovers at the glass
her wings the speed of light
or the slice of light my eye
can apprehend any given moment.
She cocks her charcoal head
eye pierced straight at me
and decides, or without question,
lofts up, as smoke from a smoldering fire.
I, too, can stop a moment mid-way,
sip a drop of sweetness from the open
blossom of Islam or Israel,
then lift off, a little
extra weight to haul
burned off by tomorrow.
Betsy Fogelman Tighe
Betsy Fogelman Tighe has published widely in literary magazines, including TriQuarterly, for which she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and twice in Rattle, for whom she traveled to LA to read. She has won a third place and a first place prize from the Oregon Poetry Association. Her full-length manuscript has been semi-finalist for the Snake Nation Press Violet Reed Haas Poetry Prize and the Hidden Rivers Willow Run Book Award. She retired in 2022 from her good work as a teacher-librarian in Portland, OR where she also pays some notice to her garden, and values the presence of two young adult children.