Sunflowers

Marilyn Raymond is one of my favorite writers, always eloquent, perceptive, thoughtful. When she shared this poem with me, I asked her permission to publish it here. I get a catch in my throat every time I read it. Marilyn is also the author of That Apple, Baba Yaga, and Sucking on Stones.

© 2004 Marilyn Raymond

True things are hard to say.
The sunflowers on the hillside
           open my soul
           with their bright, indifferent beauty
                      while they cut my heart into ribbons of longing.

In a vase on my kitchen table,
           dying sunflowers
                      sing wild yellow
                                 hallelujahs.

What am I trying to tell you?
That my home is a sanctuary
           and a fortress,
                      and a cage.

And those sunflowers . . .Balsam Root
           Winter food for the first people
                      They’re the meaning of life

           They bloom in May
                      dancing a truth about god all through the valley
                                 They’re yellow
                                 They’re magic
                                 They’re where we go when we die

Balsamroot

Photo by Cathryn Wellner. These are the sunflowers Marilyn so eloquently describes

These sunflowers,
           the ones in the vase
                      on my kitchen table,
                                 are beginning to wilt
           Soon they’ll be compost.
           Dark, indifferent dirt.

True things are hard to say.

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