Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done;
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!
For my second post I chose this poem by William Blake, another poet I like very much. I saw a beautiful painting of a sunflower by blogger Buffy W., and that inpired me to jump from last week's “Snow in the Suburbs” to “Ah! Sunflower”.
Blake ( 1757- 1827) was a spiritual human being. He was home-schooled and started to write poetry when he was ten. He also apprenticed with an engraver and attended the Royal Academy for a short while. Interestingly the woman he married was illiterate, and he taught her to read and write. His wife helped him print the illuminated poetry for which he is known, but for most of his live he lived as an engraver and illustrator for books and magazines. In his final years of illness and great poverty,he was commissioned to design the illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy. Blake worked on those the cycle of drawings until his death.
This short poem is appropriate to encapsulate the poet's vision of life through the simple and elegant sunflower which pines for something that all living creatures do, but at the end they all end up in the same place. I often wondered why he didn't just call it “The Sunflower”, until I understood that “Ah!” interjects the hopelessness of the poet at the irony of what he knows and others, like the sunflower and the innocent youth will soon find out. The answer to that, of course, reminds me of Robert Frost's poem "Gold" in which he writes:
"Nothing gold will stay."