Tuesday, November 2, 2010

about a sunflower


I am  sitting tonight in front of the window
staring at the blackness staring back. A cozy scene:
a woman, seated at a worn wooden table, a bowl
of oranges and lemons in front of her, an arrangement
of cheerful plates on the wall behind, pen in hand,
her arm lying across a paper angled just so, big dark eyes
like holes in her face looking back from the glass.
All summer, I watched from this same seat
a sunflower, a tall hairy stem, pointy sepal arms,
hundreds of bumpy brown seeds, bursting
little teeth, little rows hoed in circles, a plinking
stone in a still brown pond,
bonneted, beribboned, turning this way
and that, reaching up a round child's face,
angling for her father, a heavy earthen mother,
finally falling beneath her weighty thoughts, beaten
by the rain, become a blinded skull, her eyes pecked out.
Examined from the ground up, imagined
from the sky down -- the worm's view, the crow's view,
in memory, the poet's view -- a blind reflection
in the glass tonight while the words can't find
where the woman fits in the scheme
of all these things.


  1. I can feel the weight of the scene without meaning. Observation without a sense of place.

  2. Fine thoughtful poem Karen.A poet's poem.

  3. Intriguing approach. Have to agree with Totalfeckineejit - totally!

  4. that woman is the eye, or the gate that leads us from *here* to *there*.
    great imaginery, Karen.

  5. So happy you found my blog, and thank you for the comments.

    I really enjoy your poems. My favorite line: the worm's view, the crow's view,
    in memory, the poet's view --

    I like how your "camera" is letting us consider other perspectives.

  6. I really like the use of the window - reflecting the black holes of the eyes; revealing what's on the other side.
    Your description of the sunflower's "teeth" and "face" are really inspired and then end of the poem realizes what we all think, each in our own way.


  7. wow. i feel like i say wow a lot when i'm here, but - wow.

    the tracing of the sunflower's arc is mesmerizing - from "bonneted, beribboned" (love that merry mouthful) to "a blinded skull" - taken from different angles - then circling back to that poet at the window.

    and i love the subtle ironies, too - especially how you begin with everything in its place, "just so", and end with the woman searching to find her place. i think she found exactly the right words. :)

  8. Beautiful Karen, and in a style I'm desperately trying to develop and failing miserably. Hiding my envy, that is a wonderful piece of writing. The movement through it, taking the reader so easily yet in so much depth, is marvellous.

  9. A never ending circle - a never ending question...where do we begin? Where do we end? Do we ever fit in? Superb reflections surrounding the sunflower. Of life and life and life....

  10. Oh, God. Karen. What is your place in the life of this most masterfully described sunflower in the passage of time? You started it, the record, and you completed it, the record. For this you came. For this you are called. To tell us this. My God, I am grateful for your gift.

  11. I swear I thought I answered each one of these comments! Is Blogger cannibalizing itself? So, I'll try again.

    Jason - I think the observation is really that she has no idea of her place. Where does the poet fit? Does she belong in the picture or not? This is something which which I struggle as a writer. Should I intrude or is the scene enough?

    TFE - Thank you. All about the poetry.

    Dave - Ditto TFE comment.

    SzelsoFa - I think you have opened something up for me with this comment. Thank you.

    Hannah - Thank you for returning the visit. I'll have to put you in my blogroll so I don't lose you!

    Kat - Thank you. Your comments mean a great deal to me.

    Joaquin - You always read so carefully, and that is a great gift you give each time you are here. Thank you for that!

    JoAnne - I am so flattered that you would say such a nice thing about this style. I'm so old school that I still have a hard time thinking of myself as a poet when I write this way. I can only thank you.

    Kay - Life and life and life...exactly.

    Chris - You have me walking on air here - well, maybe rising from my seat on a cloud? Anyway, you are so sweet to say such nice things. (Please, oh please, tell me you're sincere!) ;-)