The sunflower is mine, in a way. — Vincent van Gogh
But sunflowers are also my favorite flower. There’s nothing like driving through Tuscany or Umbria and seeing acres and acres of them dancing in the light breeze. They look so cheery and substantial. They are my favorite flower by far: yellow, orange, rust. Tall or short, big or small. They make me smile.
We have had several sunflower arrangements this spring and summer and I have tried to capture their essence in a few photographs here.
I’d also like to share a poem I wrote a few years ago. It didn’t make it into Up at the Villa, but it appeared in my chapbook, Sono italiana. I hope you enjoy it. Stay sunny.
Our name takes up six pages in the Florence phone book.
But what would I say to any of them?
Even if the language were there, where would I begin?
How communicate the history, the longing, the fear?
My father did not want to come; maybe he was right.
He might be at home here, and what good would that do now?
Too late, I would have buried him among the sunflowers
Near Siena, from whence our family came.
I can imagine him among the fiery yellow stalks,
Loving the wine and the olives into rich soil,
Watered and warmed by the hand of God
Who is present in every thing.
c. 2003 Linda Dini Jenkins