Thursday 12 October 2023


The sunflowers my mother bought
wept over the kitchen floor 
this morning, their scent overpowering - 
wet carpets, mothballs.
Or something older, an odour
too close to human, for comfort.

A flower seems such a harmless thing,
stuck in a painted vase,
petals shaking off at the lightest touch,
or no touch at all.

And yet, I am driven far away, 
wanting nothing more of their glorious black,
the gold I sought - only days ago,
when my mother brought them home. 

(c) Shaista Tayabali, 2023

Paintings: Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
OLN night at DVerse Poets


  1. Oh, this is lovely and nostalgic. The moth balls did it for me. Reminded me of being in my grandparents’ home growing up.

  2. "A flower seems such a harmless thing" Amazing. I love your turn of phrase and how it holds us as readers to the understanding of how such seemingly benign things can affect us powerfully. Wonderful poem.

  3. "An odor too close to human for comfort," is such a great line. It made me think of the floral sweetness in death and decay. So well done.

  4. This is incredibly deep and moving, Shaista! Yes, it is amazing how things can affect us on a daily basis.

  5. I love the transition of the flower as it decays becoming something vile with that scent so well described in your poem

  6. I love bringing sunflowers home. They make me absurdly happy while they last, their smiley faces. I love your paintings which show them before and after........and love the poem too. I always love it when your blog pops up on my blogroll with a new post.

  7. Though brief, the imagery is so powerfully moving.

  8. Flowers are the holders of secrets. You've created a poignant mystery around them.

  9. A stunning poem, Shaista! I love the way you compare their overpowering scent to wet carpets and mothballs, ‘’an odour too close to human, for comfort’. The short life of a cut flower is why I don’t have them in our house; I prefer them to be in the garden or, in the case of sunflowers, in a field with hundreds of other sunflowers!