Guest Poem: Heliotropism


Poetry: Celebrating National Poetry Month.


Yesterday I drove by fields of sunflowers,
their happy faces tracking the constant sun.
All day, the stems, the east-facing halves,
grow and lengthen, bending their flower heads in time
with the westward-moving light.
All night, their west sides grow,
oscillating their heavy yellow faces back.
I envy the surety of sunflowers.
Their nights are free of guilty dreams.
They faithfully keep time,
their circadian rhythm turns them to the promise of sun
they never doubt will rise again.
Chaos does not occur to sunflowers.
Not a one casts an eye to the dark side of the sky,
crying out, I will go my own way.
Not a one sows a seed of discord,
makes choices,
suffers free will to fail and fail again.
The sun once lifted my darkness,
but now I shut my eyes.
Feeling the heavy weight of ripe experience,
I wallow in sleepless worry and do not turn any more.
My faith is shaken.
I am mired in the mud of my looping thoughts,
forgetting how to be governed by the ancient inheritance.
Then I remember.
Adult sunflowers stop sun-tracking, too.
Knowing that bees prefer the warmer flowers of morning,
they stay still, facing east.
They endure the long night,
waiting for sunrise
and the buzzing yellow and black pollinators
that freckle their faces with ripening seeds,
assuring tomorrow.

For links to poetry prompts, or if you missed out on what I’m doing for National Poetry Month, check out the first post here.

You can also find all the poems that have been posted so far here.

To end each post, there will be this call to share your own work. Whether it’s something that you write as soon as you finish reading this post, or it’s a poem you’ve posted or had published, place the whole poem in the comments or put a link to it. A brief description before the link will help me process comments faster, so I know they’re not spam.

Also, feel free to share links to poems or spoken word performances by other poets. I hope this month will bring a wide variety of poetry to everyone’s attention. Also, there will be posts on my author Facebook page, a link to which can be found on the right-hand side, that will include spoken word performances and links to work of other poets, which will not appear here.


  1. // Reply

    I’m hoping to get some video of mimosa “touch me nots” this year. I’ll have to hook you up. That is an interesting plant indeed, and I know where some of them will be growing if they come back. Not sure if the species growing on my hill will do “the trick,” but we’ll see.

    The sunflower family is fascinating in their sun tracking, and also in their reproductive systems. Each plant seems more like a “family” under one roof rather than a single organism. The amazing “creatures” that are found everywhere in nature, when one takes time to stop and look around, make for an endless flow of creative energy.

    Great poem.

    1. // Reply

      Oh! My mom had a little mimosa plant that she showed me last year. I think it was the first time I had ever seen one. I love that their leaves fold when you touch them.
      One of the things I love about reading, even in fiction and apparently poetry too, is that you can learn things. I think it’s often forgotten that fiction holds pieces of truth. But this was the first time I remember reading a poem and being struck by that feeling that I was learning something new. Sheryl did a wonderful job with this piece, and she told us several different things about sunflowers when she first read this to our writing group that I didn’t know.

  2. // Reply

    Chaos definitely does not occur to sunflowers! Good one!

    1. // Reply

      I really enjoy this piece by Sheryl, and I remember feeling excited when she sent it as one of her contributions for this month.

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