Such well-trained soldiers!

They obey their sun commander

who speaks not a word.

Heads right, heads left.


This field full of lions

roars “Yellow!” at its

silent blazing general—

and marches in place—dawn to dusk.

Sunflowers stride with

obedient faces

filled with the seed

of the next generation.

Sunflowers sometimes triumph

as solitary sentinels at gates or

entrances; more often fields are

fully invaded.

Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” commands

“take the enemy’s country whole

and intact” — Ukraine, China, Australia,

France, South Africa,  Kansas.

But sunflowers, energetic conquerors,

can meet their match

when glorious fields mean “harvest”

to industrious farmers.

Sunflowers, the “crop”

are marshaled on farms

where even Sun Tzu’s commands

cannot protect them.

Machines thresh and harvest

their  glorious golden heads.

Conquered, the conquerors lose.

The farmer wins.

Marguerite Beck-Rex © 2013


About inkpaintwords

A feminist writer and artist with a penchant for all things French, living in Washington DC. My love of language led me, indirectly, to my pleasure in gardening, drawing and watercolor. It began with a book, a collection of New Yorker garden columns by Katherine White, wife of its founding editor E.B.White. Her enthusiastic appraisal of the literary merit of various garden catalogs led me to collect and keep her favorites as well as to hoard with them some more recently-emerged seed, bulb and seed catalogs. The beautiful catalogs inspired me to little by little turn our entire front lawn (our home had a wooded ravine close behind) into a garden. That grew into a lovely site with two simple arches, a gliding bench on a little sitting patio and modest slate paths winding through beds of shade lovers and whatever plants supposedly in need of full sun that I could manage to coax into colorful healthy bloom. A curiosity about color and color theory emerged as I became keenly interested in impressionist painters; that interest merged in some way with my urge to garden. I acquired more than one book about Monet’s garden and gardens of other impressionist painters, both French and American. One day I picked up a magazine for painters, and found inside an article about a painter I’d known. Among examples of her splendid watercolor paintings was her watercolor of her garden at that time. Suddenly I could think of nothing more exciting than painting my garden. I enrolled in her watercolor class in The Art League in Alexandria, VA. The influence that the collection of Katherine White’s columns about the literary merits of certain garden catalogs has had on my life has come full now. Ink, Paint & Words combines what has become an obsession with drawing and watercolor with my passion for language. Yes, I still garden. A table full of blooming potted plants sits on my apartment patio, backed by an ivy covered fence with park trees behind. My patio, and my larger environment of Washington DC, together provides wonderful vistas for drawing and painting. For a number of years annual trips to France gave me and my companions extravagantly colorful panoramas and charming tableaux for brush and pen. And yes, now I’ve painted in Monet’s gardens several times. But that, as they say, is another story.
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2 Responses to Sunflowers

  1. PatriseArts says:

    wonderful! Sunflowers always seem so sentient.

  2. Priscilla says:

    All of your poems bring me such heartfelt pleasure, Marguerite, I don’t know which one I love the best. I love your new one, and your horse is positively popping off the page! How wonderful. But,
    If truth be told, I think perhaps Charm Bracelet grabs me the most. I feel so fortunate to have met such a gifted, wonderful person. Priscilla

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