In 1863 a Mr Heade
Went to Brazil to paint hummingbirds. He could have stayed
In Washington and worked on specimens, but instead
Mr Heade said,
‘Hummingbirds are found only in the New World.
Europe has its jewels. These
are ours. They are so beautiful
Cynics hate them. Im going.’ Arriving
In Rio de Janeiro in September Mr Heade
Wrote in a letter to Forest and Stream,
‘I dissected one and in its crop
Were scores of insects of amazing smallness.’ Although
Mr Heade made his living selling paintings
When His Imperial Majesty Dom Pedro
The Second wanted one he said No.
So Dom Pedro made him a Knight of the Order of the Rose.
Mr Heade then went to London with the intent
To publish a book of chromo-lithographs
Of his hummingbird paintings
But owing to one thing or another it never happened.
Eventually a Sir Morton Peto, English railroad magnate
And politician, bought
Sixteen of them, though
These may not be the ‘original’ group, since by now
Mr Heade was painting duplicates of the scenes
And they were selling like wild. People
Will do amazing things with their precious time,
Wont they. Some work for slave wages, some
Just get up and go to sleep over and over, some walk all day
By the raving sea, and some go to Brazil to paint hummingbirds
Like Mr Heade.