“A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden monthly breeze!”
Allen Ginsberg wrote that – the rest of the poem is not quite so pretty but its message seems more timely now than it was then, during the mid 50’s when he wrote it.
The poet’s vision of a desolate landscape devastated by the carelessness of modern society, “Sunflower Sutra” ends with a ray of hope as Ginsberg states that he will preach a “sermon of light” for all who see only despair in America and their individual lives.
“We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not dread bleak dusty imageless locomotives, we’re golden sunflowers inside, blessed by our own seed…” the poet claims toward the end of his Sutra, and reminds me of these happy yellow faces that pivot toward the sun, lifting heavy heads to the light, as we must, no matter how challenging the burdens we bare, individually or collectively.
Sunflowers are blooming all over Taos right now – along the roadsides, behind walls and fences in private and public gardens. These are the Dog Days of Summer, but the sunflowers and the cool morning air tells us, Autumn is a mere breath away and change is the only thing that is ever certain.
Be the change!
Images of the Sunflowers from my files and quotes from Sunflower Sutra by Allen Ginsberg