Saturday, November 3, 2012

Visit The Sunflowers

One of my favorite places for exploration, discovery and solace…a library.  Sometimes I visit our public library with a specific subject, author or book in mind, while other times I enjoy wandering the aisles and allowing an intriguing title to catch my eye. 
On a visit last month, a couple books containing collections of poems by Mary Oliver, “Swan” and “Red Bird,” captured my attention, and after introducing myself to her poetry, I was so captivated that yesterday I checked out three more volumes of her poems, “New And Selected Poems,” “Evidence” and “Why I Wake Early.”  Mary Oliver’s poems mindfully, gracefully and beautifully draw the reader in as she describes nature’s power to provoke, in her words, “sublime thought” and contemplates love, life’s mysteries and our mortality.  She has quickly become one of my favorite poets, thanks to the library!
As my gaze has often been drawn to the sunflowers recently blooming in our garden, it seems fitting to share Mary Oliver’s “The Sunflowers.”
Come with me
  into the field of sunflowers.
    Their faces are burnished disks,
      their dry spines

creak like ship masts,
  their green leaves,
    so heavy and many,
      fill all day with the sticky

sugars of the sun.
  Come with me
    to visit the sunflowers,
      they are shy
 
but want to be friends;
  they have wonderful stories
    of when they were young –
       the important weather

the wandering crows.
  Don’t be afraid
    to ask them questions!
        Their bright faces,

which follow the sun,
   will listen, and all
     those rows of seeds –
       each one a new life! –

hope for a deeper acquaintance;
  each of them, though it stands
      in a crowd of many,
        like a separate universe,
 
is lonely, the long work
   of turning their lives
     into a celebration
        is not easy.  Come

and let us talk with those modest faces,
  the simple garments of leaves,
    the coarse roots in the earth
      so uprightly burning.

Sunflowers have always seemed like wise, strong, resilient flowers to me.  In celebration of their beautiful brightness amidst the earthy tones of autumn!