Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sunflower Summer


Sunflower Summer

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time, Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime Where the travellers journey is done. 
~ William Blake


It was a sunflower summer
counting steps to the sun
as the heat ran away
after a bad opening night.
Monarchs and hummingbirds
trimmed the yellow-gold plates,
bright beads of Christmas glass.
Rabbits came to the back door
with tea and grass hats
asking the way to Wonderland
til everything went south
blind as salmon in time's reckless river.

I spoke crackling long distance
to the place where you'd been.
It was noncommittal, polite, quite
willing to take a message, yet
I never heard back,
though every sunflower
turned its gathering face to you
in that unmaking summer
of black rolling thunder
in the East, lightning crawling
in the navy blue clouds

a red greed of fire, tree-torches smoking
 a banshee wind in the West.
The scorch of mankind
opened its heart to the storm
and the storm came inside
 like Jesus in a circus tent.
against autumn's flood
the sunflowers pack light
into rucksacks of seeds
for the traveler's journey
 to come.

 August 2020

posted for 
and earthweal's Open Link,
(for Mondays theme of Storms and Rainbows)

Images: Sunflowers, artist unknown   Fair Use
The March Hare, © John Tenniel circa 1865  Fair Use


  1. Wow! So, so good! Rabbits at the door and the blind salmon leading the blind "in time's reckless river" -- fantastic. Then your turn our heads like sunflowers following the sun and we can't avert our eyes from Jesus in a circus tent. Yet you leave us with hope, sustenance, the spiral of seeds to keep us.

  2. A sunflower summer, packing seeds for the journey ahead.........this whole poem is just wonderful to read, Joy. I love it. I can feel fall in the air this is sunflower weather for sure.

  3. Love this! What a journey. All the fairy tales passing through and the autumn flood...just perfection.

  4. So many wonderful lines I love already quoted by Qbit and Sherry. I feel like the summer behind us has been painted with exactness before me in these brilliant stanzas! It has been crazy but Autumn awaits! You always write spectacular poetry Joy!!

  5. This is full of your trademark excellent turns of phrase and I love the final stanza, dear BFF.

  6. Magic, pure unadulterated magic.

  7. This was a wild adventure, I feel, I fell down the rabbit hole. Yet, there were those seeds of hope planted here and there in the journey. Of course, now I see Jesus in a circus tent, unique, in his offering as chaos seems to run amuck around him. Your words are a bit of fantasy mixed with a dreamlike quality that seems to take the reader through snippets of something magical.

  8. What kept the sunflowers royal for me was the child's intonation at the poem's center - a recitation still potent against the withering storm. As charms go it holds fast -- for now -- powerful still against weather and not bad as a bouquet for the dead. Maybe meter is the zombie's metier, and what echoes here sounds like sunflowers bending in the wind but who knows. Thanks for lugging it to earthweal's empty square - B

  9. Change "lugging it to" to "dancing in"

    1. Thanks, B. I feel like any writing I'm doing now is much closer to "lugging" than dancing. Words are heavy as stone. Must be something in the air....stay safe amid the crazies. It's anti-masker heaven here.

  10. Autumn, sunflowers, fairy tale journeys...So much to love. "and the storm came inside like Jesus in a circus tent" That is a line I wish I'd written!

  11. Every line in this poem is excellent.

    "and the storm came inside like Jesus in a circus tent"

    "Rabbits came to the back door
    with tea and grass hats
    asking the way to Wonderland"

    Just a magical journey!

  12. red greed of fire.

    that is a perfect line.

    sorry to have been absent of late. and now, Ginsburg gone. more fire. and more greed coming. sigh ~


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats