How I Happened to Make the Blown-Up Flowers

Poem by John Menaghan

In the twenties, huge buildings . . .

seemed to be going up overnight 

in New York . . . .  So I thought I’ll 

make them big like the . . . buildings.

                                             --Georgia O’Keeffe



Large, yes.  Expansive, yes.

Yet reaching not merely up
but in every direction.  Not 

shut up behind walls even

while soaring skyward but

opening, spreading.  Pale

circle inviting penetration

to its very core, or a dark

forbidding tunnel leading

who knows where, bordered

by petals bending, glowing

not quite naturally despite

daylight invisibly pouring 

into the invisible room

so one can see just what

a flower is, essentially.


Nobody sees a flower, really. 

Flowers, yes, of course.  

They’re everywhere.  But 

a flower?  It is so small.

So easy to ignore in all

its intricate particularity.

And then we haven’t time,

have we, for such—what?—

trivialities.  And to see

takes time.  Not just to 

glance, glimpse, look but 

gaze, perceive, distinguish,

recognize.  Like to have

a friend takes time.  You

see?  Like to bloom takes

time.  To flower fully.  To 

scrape the fathomless sky.