Writing from Photographs


One of my favorite things to do as a blossoming poet is to look at old photographs and write poems about them. Over the summer, I found this photograph of my grandmother and her sunflowers, and I couldn’t help but notice the curious sunflower above her head. I had to write something about this character, and this is what I ultimately came up with.

Psychic Sunflower by Robert Julius

A woman and her dog stand
beside her sunflowers.
The largest flower, twice her height,

looking down at her with
hundreds of curious,
seedy eyes
and the sadness of waning summer.

Hypnotic swirls of yellow dive
into the repeating stream of seeds,
spun in a circle
like a deep whirlpool.

Tiny bristles poke out
from their green organs like hairs,
gentle and soft
translucent in the daylight.

Broad leaves bask in the rays
like they’ve been waiting
their entire lives
for this moment.

Green veins with ants skipping a-
long the stem
dance the conga
toward the sun-petals of amber.

And all the other sunflowers
have their eyes to the skies,
except for the tallest of them all
who looks down

and feels what it must be like
to cry, like the kids so often did
beneath the shade of the trees.
No arms to hug,

no mouth to speak,
just rays and rays of glorious yellow light
only to keep on glowing
and hope it has been enough.


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