Robert Creeley’s ‘The Flower’ is a thought-provoking lyric that taps on the idea of spiritual awakening. This piece revolves around the symbol of a flower that represents a fully awakened self. It makes Creeley’s persona feel alive and honored. Besides, the poet also projects the difference between one who is still sleeping in ignorance and a spiritually conscious entity. He uses figurative language in order to depict this theme.
‘The Flower’ by Robert Creeley meditates upon a full-bloomed, “patient flower” that symbolizes mindfulness and spiritual bliss.
Creeley’s poem is an awe-inspiring address to a flower. His poetic persona directly converses with it by investing it with human attributes. He reminds the flower of how it hunched up before spreading its petals. Then a time came when it bloomed fully. He connects himself to the full-grown flower and finds it quite inspiring to think about how the world looks at it. It makes him feel alive and honored. Lastly, the speaker creates a contrast between himself and the “patient flower.”
You can read the full poem here.
Remember the way you
body as you walked
Robert Creeley’s ‘The Flower’ is a spiritual poem that revolves around a fully-bloomed flower. He projects its features before maturity in the first few lines. Besides, there is no reference to its identity or origin. The way he talks about the flower seems like he is describing a human being rather than a beautiful entity of nature.
The speaker reminds it of the days when it hunched up in bed. It seems he is depicting an infant cuddling in its cradle. The phrase “first times” is a reference to infancy. Gradually, the flower grows to fullness. Creeley metaphorically compares the mature flower to a grown-up human being. He depicts the growth of its petals with the idea of walking.
come toward me, I felt
In the second stanza, Creeley uses visual imagery to depict the center of a flower. When he looks at the flower, it seems like its “body,” a metaphor for its petals, is centered in its breasts. These lines refer to the soul of the flower. Furthermore, it seemed to the speaker as if the world was coming toward the flower. It has the ability to draw others’ attention.
It is important to note the fact that here the speaker tries to be like the flower. He places himself in the flower’s position and tries to imagine what it feels like to be appreciated by everybody. It is an inspiring experience for the speaker. Metaphorically, this section hints at the satisfaction of discovering one’s true potential and spiritual beauty.
so alive and honored
the patient flower.
The third stanza of ‘The Flower’ begins with the speaker’s feelings about the fully grown flower. When he compared himself to the creature, he felt rejuvenated. It was an honor to be like the flower.
In the next line, Creeley describes his mortal imperfections. He is the “least” of all possibilities. This discouraging statement of the speaker hints at his sadness and agony. He yearns to be awakened fully.
His soul is still in the bed. It means he has yet to discover the power and beauty of his soul. Worldliness has blinded him spiritually. He compares himself to a “patient flower” that waits for the right moment in the last line. He needs to be patient in order to grow inwardly.
This poem is written in free-verse. It means there is no regular rhyme scheme or meter. The text consists of a total of three quatrains. Creeley uses the first-person narrative technique in order to describe the flower’s beauty. His poetic persona finds himself spiritually awakened after looking at its center. Apart from that, the poet uses fewer syllables per line. So the text reads fast. The use of caesura or metrical pause creates a stylistic effect in the text.
Creeley makes use of the following literary devices in this poem.
- Personification: Creeley personifies the flower and invests it with the idea of hunching up. He also invests the creature with the act of walking.
- Enjambment: It occurs throughout the poem. For instance, the device is used in the following lines, “Remember the way you/ hunched up the first/ times in bed.”
- Metaphor: In the third stanza, the poet compares him to a “patient flower” waiting to wake up.
- Hyperbole: It occurs in these lines, “was watching the world/ come toward me.”
Robert Creeley’s lyric ‘The Flower’ is about a fully grown flower that represents spiritual awakening. By depicting this image, the poet hints at his yearning for inward growth.
The poem was first published in the February 1966 issue of Poetry magazine.
This piece taps on a number of themes that include spirituality, nature, beauty, innocence, and worldliness. The main idea of the poem revolves around a flower that has grown fully after a long slumber of ignorance.
The following poems similarly revolve around the themes present in Robert Creeley’s poem ‘The Flower’. You can also read other Robert Creeley poems.
- ‘Song of the Flower’ by Kahlil Gibran — This poem describes what living as a flower involves, from sunrises to perpetual optimism.
- ‘The Flower’ by George Herbert — This piece describes how the changing of Seasons impacts a speaker’s outlook on life and relationship with God.
- ‘Ah! Sun-flower’ by William Blake — This poem depicts a weary sunflower, tired of counting the sun’s progress.
You can also explore these most beautiful poems about flowers.