Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

This semester I’ve been taking a module on American Literature and I’ve been enjoying it mostly. It’s introduced me to writers I’ve never heard of before and also a history of black rights I didn’t know of. Recently we’ve been discussing writer Allen Ginsberg and some of his poetry. He didn’t particularly stand out to me at first but when we discussed his poetry in more detail in tutorials I found myself starting to enjoy his work.

Ginsbergs’ “Sunflower Sutra” stood out to me the most. The poem is about an America destroyed by modern society, but the overriding feeling of the poem for me is a positive one. There are desolate images throughout the poem but amongst the bleak landscape is sunflowers; bright yellow sunflowers. They add an element of light to the bleak world they grow in.

While the poem overall is an interesting read the one thing that stood out to me was the sunflowers and what they represent. There’s always something wonderful happening somewhere even amongst ruins.

I find this metaphor ‘cheesy’ and uplifting at the same time, it made me laugh but also made me smile. Ginsberg says that we are all sunflowers inside, “We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not dread bleak dusty imageless locomotives, we’re golden sunflowers inside”. I think sometimes the cheesiness is needed.

Life ain’t that bad.


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