In 1794 William Blake, the visionary Romantic poet, published an illustrated, wistful,  frustratingly ambiguous poem entitled Ah! Sun-flower that has set literary scholars arguing about its meaning for two hundred years.

Eight lines in two quatrains — that’s it. Eight lines about youth and death and beauty and inevitability and desire. The poem inspired the artist Paul Nash to paint a series of gigantic sunflowers in the last years of his life. The poet Allen Ginsburg said Ah! Sunflower sparked auditory hallucinations in him, and was key in his own poem Sunflower Sutra. The avant-rock group The Fugs set the poem to music. So did the British classical composer Jonathan Dove, and Canadian folk-rock sisters Kate and Anna McGarrigle.

I rather doubt Blake or his poem was in the photographer’s mind when he shot this lovely photograph, but it fits nicely.

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers 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 Sun-flower wishes to go.

Blog photograph copyrighted to the photographer and used with permission by All photographs used on are stored on and are obtained via the flickr API. Text is copyrighted to the author, greg fallis and is used with permission by Please see Show and Share Your Work