Week 45 – entries and results

Monday, 1 June 2015

Photograph by Chris Sims

Week 45 - Chris Sims



Lots of you found the sunflower above quite irresistible and from the shortlist of ten the poem that the readers most favoured was The Things I Have To Do To Make Sunflowers by Johanna Boal. Congratulations Johanna and thank you to everyone who sent in poems and voted.

Poem 1

September Sunflowers


Not our six-foot inula

with its intricate whorls of petal-head,

elephant-ear leaves, and serpent stems

we mistakenly named as “English sunflower”


but the real McCoy we logged – is it

twenty years ago now? – in field after

field as driving south through France:

gold, open-faced, and shoulder-height –

you know, those we jokingly doffed

van Gogh’s Wunderkind as, living up

to their naming, tournesol, they followed

the sun, their heads resplendent, their

yellows heavy in bright sunlight.


Well, yes – these, but not these.

They’re autumnal now. Clown-sad sentinels

fading daily through amber to ochre, then brown,

their leaves drying to brittle flap, and heads

hanging in a sort of sadness

like shrunken old men exchanging

smalltalk on street corners, and eking

out their waiting time.

Roger Elkin



Poem 2

Crowd Pleasers

Everybody loves a sunflower.
A born leader
Not too regal like a magnolia
Nor common as a bluebell
A plant to look up to.
A flower of the people.
Twisting towards the sunlight
However the wind blows it
Oozes authority.
In ascendance we look up to it
As we always have done
And will again.

But when time strips away the finery
Will there be a seedy legacy?

Martin John


Poem 3


Architecture in a Sunflower


We find in Mother Nature’s building bricks

the wonder of a pleasing thing called Phi

as seen in each sunflower’s seed helix.


The boffins talk of golden one point six;

while numbers help explain, don’t tell us why

we find in Mother Nature’s building bricks


the thrill a Fibonnaci growth depicts.

We watch the world revolve, the sun go by

as seen by each sunflower’s seed helix


whose eyes behold a brightness to transfix

the mortal who needs only now to die.

We find in Mother Nature’s building bricks,


like Vincent’s corolla of ochre flicks,

the sublime ratio that makes us sigh,

as seen in each sunflower’s seed helix.


Defying gravity and size conflicts

we try to stretch our structures to the sky

we look to Mother Nature’s building bricks

and copy each sunflower’s seed helix.

Sue Spiers


Poem 4


Bright in the Morning


The garden begins to change.


Bulbs sprout, buds pop and bloom;

weeds sprawl like drunk students in the sun.


I’m sure we planted sunflowers

by our house once.


Did they stretch tall and vibrant?


Did parents-pause to comment?


I can’t remember.


Do they grow back each year?


I guess I’ll just have to wait.


At best, I think one might appear,

bright in the morning,

yet will struggle to grip-tight to the day,

limp by dusk;


head bowed for the stars.

Tomas Bird


Poem 5


The Sunflower Fields

They stand row after row in tight formation,
Heads in perpetual slow-circling motion
Turning always to the source of life;
Grown to maturity in full blazing light
Grown tall and strong on ultraviolet rays,
Each familiar giant yellow-petalled face
A child’s bright painting of a summer sky.

Later, when the earth about them is baked dry
And they, seed heavy, season’s work complete,
All turning ceased wait patiently their fate
Wait stiff and shrivelled, blackened, bent,
Don’t pity their inevitable end;
Think how they lived, not what they have become:
A life in splendour, following the sun.

David Prior


Poem 6



“Thanks for the money. Thought


I’d spend some time away from


my tiny rented room. Headed


south to find the sun.



I came, I saw, but for the life of me


couldn’t conquer, capture, or detain


the veiled landscape until: I’d scaled the hills,


broken through the cloud and found meadows


flood-full of head-heavy golden-yellows, like these,


swaying, bowing, genuflecting and I too prayed


it might not rain. So, I set up shop, lifted


pallet-orange on to canvas  – just a little –


at least that’s what I intended. Then, with usual


practised pepper-stroke skills, added yellow


splashes and a trace of seed-black shadow


until my flower-scene canvas-flourished


once again and, Dear brother Theo, I hope


it looks as good upon your office wall;”




So wrote Vincent before


He lost his better ear.


Mike Lee


Poem 7


The majesty of summer

She stands proud and tall,

A diadem of gold

around her head,

How glorious ,how bold!

Not bowed ,or cowed

to the brilliance of the Sun;

Eye to eye, face to face

she stands,

Mouth wide open,she shouts

her claim,

The majesty of summer, is me!

And there are more to fill this space

as I move on,

More to take my place,

when I am gone.


Leela Gautam



Poem 8


Sermon for the sun.


Turn your face toward the sun;

Brightness will warm your mind,

Ease your bones,

Lighten your thought.

This has been bought

For you, this light

Gift of existence.


Like a sunflower that’s begun

To unfurl its face sunward,

Let your life unwind,

And your bones might.

Let your cares, the ones

You know and those forward

Ones yet to be known, fraught

With the persistence of darkness, go.


Existence is not enough.

Becoming more than we are

Is where meaning begins,

Why religions

Have power, with their gruff


That there is One behind

What can be seen

Whose ways are what we mean.


What, really, do religions know?

In the dark I turn toward the light,


The sun shines, lives grow;

Darkness comes, lives fail, fall,

Yet life’s begun again

Like the sunflower each year.

Though unlike the sunflower

Beginning again needs  another power ‐

One who is all that we may become

Imagined, makes and mends;

Makes love possible and peace and friends.


Till all’s done

Dark shakes the world again‐

Earthquake, abuse, war.

Don’t turn to these,

They’re not what we’re for;

Don’t let them be the sum

Of our existence, become our all.


Like the sunflower uncurled

Dark trembles at the light maker, mender of the world.

Bones take their ease, hope is unfurled.


In a dark world light has again begun.

Turn your face toward the sun.

Michael Docker



Poem 9


Showy, gaudy things they are,


but what you see is what you get,

what you get is what you see,

childlike and obvious,

not subtle like me.


The faces we show to the

world every day

hide strengths, thoughts and fears,

things may not be ok


as the flower turns its head

to the warmth of the sun,

watch me smile, face the days

I will not turn and run.

Angie Butler

Poem 10


The Things I Have To Do To Make Sunflowers


Give me thread, a big needle

I will hang sunflowers into the big skies.

But first give me an infinite amount of cotton

so I can launder them with a yellow dye.


I will go to France, dry them out in fields

call upon my friend Vincent

to act as a scarecrow. Suggest he might

paint them as well.


Then I will take them to the galleries

show them to the public, sew into their minds

the importance of their petals, the yellow

old master in the big skies.


Johanna Boal