Sunflowers #poetry #poem

With your lion’s-mane fringe
of boldest yellow, you
look down on me
or look up to the sky.

When I was a child
I used to measure
my height by you
tall in the summer sun

always taller than I
yet I knew, if I plucked a handful
of your zebra-stripped seeds
and planted them

I’d grow a plant which I
could tower over
for some short weeks
in early summer

now, long after this early sowing
every summer they stand proud
in all their colours, brightening the darkest cloud
still growing, still reminding me of you.

Β© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved

A poem using concrete imagery

I was really interested to read Ren Powell’s Instagram Post about concrete vs. abstract imagery, especially as it started with the question ‘Do you write more often of cockroaches or “Love”?’ This made me realise that my poetry certainly tends towards the abstract, and made me want to challenge myself to do things differently.

Seamus Heaney was the master of this technique, using concrete objects to provoke an emotional response in the reader, with scant reference to the emotions themselves. Take, for example, his poem ‘Blackberry Picking.’

I had a go at concrete imagery in this poem. Sunflowers were my sister’s favourite flower, and for that reason whenever I see one, I think of her, and smile.

Sharing with earthweal’s Open Link Weekend.

49 thoughts on “Sunflowers #poetry #poem

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  1. Lovely. The transformation from “zebra striped seeds” to towering glory is the ticket for me. My kid brother, who died years ago, loved to take pictures of sunflowers. Maybe there’s something in the spirit that sees a phoenix in them.

  2. I am fully in love with the idea of writing a piece through concrete imagery! Love the way you employ sunflowers and growth here in this piece. πŸ™‚

  3. A sweet remembering. I can see your sister’s smile, bright as a sunflower……….I do love their sunny faces.

  4. I have seen my share of sunflowers, grown many too and never thought of describing the seeds as “zebra-stripped.” Love this! Sunflowers have a magical quality, growing as fast as they do. I have a funny memory of finding (on my walk to school) and taking a sunflower in for show and tell in first grade. It seemed so huge at the time!

    Very different, but your poem reminded me of Allen Ginsberg’s poem, “Sunflower Sutra.” Are you familiar?

    1. I just looked up Ginsberg’s poem and wow! What imagery! Thanks for introducing me. I love the way my little sunflower poem led people to share their sunflower memories with me 😊

      1. Cool! I studied him in college. His most famous poem, “Howl” is the one we spent the most time on. It is very long! I love that you took the time to look him up. Thank you. I am pleased you are enjoying his work. 😊 Something very symbolic about sunflowers.🌻

      2. I know of him but haven’t read much of his poetry. When I have more time on my hands I will definitely read more of it!

  5. each seed from that face, a memory of your sister, I wager – bright and abundant and bringing you the sweetest flavor to savor ~

  6. smiling at this happy burst of concrete sunshine of the sunflower and I’m sure your sister is smiling down or up or all around at you (ok that wasn’t too concrete of an answer.. lol 😹

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