I am always inspired by poetry as the many pupils I have taught will testify to – I would save the longer more complex poems for the arduous late afternoon sessions in the sure knowledge that I would be energised and inspired – and in the hopes that my enthusiasm would be contagious to the pupils who were longing for the school day to end so they could get on with the urgent business of living and loving… I like to think I sometimes got it right to make learning meaningful and FUN!
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!
Extracted from a Sunflower Sutra, Allen Ginsberg, Berkeley, 1955
—- and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset,
crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog
and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye–
corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like
a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face,
soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sunrays
obliterated on its hairy head like a dried
leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures
from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster
fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear,
Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O
my soul, I loved you then!