Photographs of Flowers, by Hannah Stephenson

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Photographs of Flowers

In the morning, the red tulips
are closed, but when I return
at night, their petals are open
and looking for light, black centers
exposed, pinprick pupils.
I want to photograph them
and the flowering trees along
the street, the pear blossoms
and the magnolias. The petals
are already tearing off
and being blown into the road.

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The park is full of people
holding cameras out in front
of them like maps. How close
can they zoom in on a petal,
a bee, a stamen. This is almost
like pornography, the flower
lying there, open before
our eyes, the camera we crouch
with. The flower’s stillness,
and our scrutiny, our breathing.
Those we love, we pose them
in front of flowers, petals next
to their faces. This is how we
talk to them about their beauty.

– HANNAH STEPHENSON

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4 thoughts on “Photographs of Flowers, by Hannah Stephenson

  1. Such lush beauty has inspired many! Always I want to take photos of the flowers to keep them, even though I know their beauty is fleeting and a photo only captures the spirit not the reality. The second photo reminds me of Georgia O’Keefe who wanted the world to stop and look at all the hidden beauty, the center of things we tend to overlook. It looks so fragile to hold so much life! Terrific poem, and new to me, to go with the delicate richness of your photos.

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