The strong, ever-resiliant sunflower that Allen Ginsberg writes of in his poem, “Sunflower Sutra,” is the perfect representation of the resilience that was showing up in the spirit of America during the 1950s.   He did not choose a flower that is sweet and wispy like Whitman’s lilacs.  Instead, Ginsberg chose the tall, strong, stable sunflower that is capable of remaining sturdy while still maintaining its incredible beauty throughout its time and duration in the sun.

In the time that the poem, “Sunflower Sutra” by Allen Ginsberg, was written, America was going through an economic recovery.  The Locomotive which was spreading out America, was a marvelous invention of this time, in spite of the pollution that it created.  Ginsberg was quite the environmentalist back before being an environmentalist was cool.  In this pre-Cold War time,  America was just beginning to feel the effects of a rising economy.  The rising of the average American’s wealth helped to fuel the rapidly growing consumeristic attitude of the people.

I posted the second half of “Sunflower Sutra” below.  I feel like Ginsberg is telling America that it was never meant to be this pollutant of itself.  It is not meant to thrive in filth.  This country is strong and beautiful, and must thrive in its progression in spite of the industrialized future that looms all around and ahead of it.  America was never meant to be weak and fragile like the Forget Me Not blooms, but rather a powerful robust nation that grows naturally under the sun’s rays.

A piece from Allen Ginsberg’s “Sunflower Sutra” :

A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent
lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden monthly breeze!
How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your
grime, while you cursed the heavens of the
railroad and your flower soul?
Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a
flower? when did you look at your skin and
decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive?
the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and
shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive?
You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower!
And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not!
So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck
it at my side like a scepter,
and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack’s soul too,
and anyone who’ll listen,
–We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not our dread bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we’re all beautiful
golden sunflowers inside, we’re blessed by
our own seed & golden hairy naked
accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black
formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our
eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening
sit down vision.
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