Messenger – Mary Oliver,1935-2019, American
from the collection, Thirst (paperback 2007)
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird – equal seekers of sweetness…
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and not half -perfect? Let me keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart and these body-clothes
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is that we live forever.
Le Tournesol (the Sunflower), and detail, 1920, tempera and oil on canvas.
Edward Steichen, 1879-1973, American born Luxembourg. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Sunflower, Warrington Community Garden, Philadelphia, 2015
Sunflower, Warrington Community Garden, Philadelphia
Sunflower, 1887, oil on canvas, and detail.
Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890, Dutch. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Originally owned by Paul Gauguin who sold it to fund his journey to the South Seas. There he ordered sunflower seeds for his garden.
A sunflower in autumn in the children’s garden. Winterthur, DE
Sunflowers, oil on canvas, 1888 or 1889, and detail.
Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890, Dutch. Philadelphia Art Museum
Christian Street Community Garden, Philadelphia
A platter woven in sunflower pattern in 1967 of coloured cotton thread and dried grass by students of the Itegue Mennen School, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, 1991, and detail. Colour lithograph on paper.
Faith Ringgold, American born 1930. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia