Friday, September 3, 2021

The Truth About Sunflowers (poem)

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure and visit Heidi at my juicy little universe for Roundup.

First: I have to tell you about a beautiful book, INTO THE LIGHT by Jeff Zentner. It's a love poem to nature and poetry and friendship and love(!) and grandparents. Kind of old-fashioned, and partly set in Tennessee. Here's a quick quote.

“Every hurt, every sorrow, every scar has brought you here. Poetry lets us turn pain into fire by which to warm ourselves. Go build a fire.” - Jeff Zentner, Into the Wild Light

Please stop over at Smack Dab in the Middle to read my post about How to Mine Your Childhood for Story. (Artist's Way friends: you'll remember some of our work together!)

I've been thinking about how I can apply to upcoming teaching THE ANTI-RACIST WRITING WORKSHOP training through Highlights Foundation. 

Something funny: I just looked for the file I started on my computer, and I accidentally titled it "The Anti Writing Workshop," which is quite a different thing. :)

This year on Saturday, September 18, I'm part of the virtual nErDcampGA. Sign up for my "Experience the Transformative Power of Poetry" session and other great sessions FREE! 

Today's ArtSpeak: FOUR SEASONS turned out to be more for the adults among us than the children. While I intend this series for children, I've learned not to fight it when a renegade adult poem pops up! Thanks so much for reading.

The Truth about Sunflowers

By September
their blazing faces
          drop seeds.

Petals and stalks

You, too, will fade.

Your body will
become something

- Irene Latham


  1. I do think an Anti-Writing workshop would be kinda fun. Everything about not writing that leads to writing? I'm checking my calendar for the 18th. I love a good workshop. And, what a sweet poem. For adults yes, but there are some children that know this experience from being old souls or a fight with a disease. I think it's a comforting poem. A loved one of mine use to take the most beautiful photos of flowers past their prime...the poem reminds me of her.

  2. I’d love to attend your workshop! Thanks for letting us know. Your poem speaks to me. Over the last few years, since the death of my husband, I believe I’ve done what the sunflower has done. Beautiful.

  3. Irene, your post is always so so calm, peaceful, and thought provoking. This one fits this billing. I look forward to the renewal of life that September brings, Irene. Thank you for the information on the Free Sessions and links. I am looking forward to all the poetry love you bring.

  4. You are busy! And it all sounds wonderful, Irene. Zentner's In The Wild Light is my favorite this year, though others have been good. His poetry warmth shone through so brightly. Your poem connects with Michelle's video, showing those sunflowers' "blazing faces/droop". I notice now the light is leaving, too. Have a lovely weekend!

  5. Oh no. I do not think you are qualified to teach an anti-writing workshop, lovely Irene. You would fail completely, and instead have classroom of poets. So many feelings about your sunflower poem - life poem... and that final twist of promise at the end.🌻

  6. Wow, so many lovely events coming up! Your poem reminds us what nature shows us every day--we live, we die, we change...There's something so beautiful in the calm acceptance of that.

  7. What Laura said ^^^

    And on the topic of the anti writing workshop, I feel like that is what my life IS right now. No specific focus on writing, but LOTS of writing is happening!

  8. Irene, I haven't had time to make the rounds yet, but both Laura and Mary Lee pointed out the serendipitous connection between your lovely poem and the one I posted by Wendell Berry, "September 2," so I headed straight over here. Perfection.

  9. Thanks for sharing this contemplative poem with us! A reminder to follow the words wherever they want to take us, even if it's an unexpected destination.

  10. Over the years I've had some students who'd prefer an Anti-Writing Workshop to the Writing Workshop I preside over instead! I love your truth about sunflowers.

  11. Sometimes the poem knows better than the poet. Great stuff all around, Irene, especially the Anti-Writing Workshop! ;)

  12. Irene--lovely! I think there are children--young ones, even--who would find knowledge and wisdom in this poem. Who doesn't want to know that we can become something new, begin again, after some kind of ending? Your word choice really does keep it open. Maybe I'm still under the influence of this Twitter thread I came upon:


Your thoughts?