Thirteen Different Ways of Looking at a Sunflower

I signed up for a creative writing class this semester as an elective. I thought it would be fun, educational, and helpful for future poems and blog posts. One of the recent assignments I had was to describe something of your choice in thirteen different ways. This exercise was based off of a poem called “Thirteen Different Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens. It was pretty difficult trying to understand the poem, it didn’t really make sense and it seemed as if each stanza belonged to a different poem entirely. I wasn’t looking forward to this exercise but I thought I would share what I came up with.

Thirteen Different Ways of Looking at a Sunflower

Have you seen the sunflowers?

They whispered sunshine

To the bees


Cut with their leaves,

Sunflowers tied together with strings.

I gave them away


Like the post-it note stuck to my desk,

That says,

“It’s going to be okay”.

There’s a sunflower in a jar

Telling me,

“It will be better than yesterday”


Honey drips from the petals,

Into a cup of milk.

Where some of the pollen

From the sunflower, it settles


They say the eyes are the windows to the soul.

If blue eyes are the ocean,

I see disk flowers in brown.

The center of the sunflower


There is no other,

That can hope like the sunflower.

Even when clouds block their light,

They continue facing east


Have you seen the sunflowers?

Strong in so many ways

But cover them with darkness,

Back they fall,

From where they came


Beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Yellow doesn’t have to be a favorite.

I see golden, orange, red, bronze, and white.

All fellowship in the garden


As the proud amaryllis

Hurts others with foolishness.

The wise sunflower

 Heals others with thoughtfulness


So easily trusting,

So forgiving and fragile,

The sunflower cries


Like the unexpected kindness from a stranger,

The sunflower gives

With a golden radiance


As the days go by

The sunflower wilts,

Waving goodbye,

To all it’s known


It lies, dried up

Blown away with the wind.

As the next season arrives,

A new sunflower takes its place.

Like a bittersweet love story,

It repeats.

I chose sunflowers as my subject because I have been obsessed with them recently. Throughout the summer I have been picking them and bringing them home for my windowsill, I’ve been photographing them, and learning about the different types of sunflowers. It took me a couple of hours to write the entire poem, and it got difficult to continue after the sixth stanza. As much as I didn’t want a prompt to follow, I think it was a really good exercise and I got a nice little poem out of it. If you like it or have any suggestions, let me know in the comments! And if you decide to write a poem like this, tag me in it, I would love to see the result!

Related posts

3 thoughts on “Thirteen Different Ways of Looking at a Sunflower”

  1. Evelyn Fultz

    That was beautiful😊🌻

    1. Maryjane Ortega

      It was a very nice poem you are very talented. MjO

Leave a Comment