Ah! Sun-Flower

The poem “Ah! Sun-flower” is part of the collection Songs of Experience and was combined in the book Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake (1757 – 1827).

Songs of innocence (1826)
Songs of innocence (1826) with the poem “Ah! Sunflower” by William Blake. Courtesy of the The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.


There is more to this poem. This poem steps beyond the life and touches the afterlife. The traveller is, in fact, someone whose life has come to an end. The goal during life came to an end; reach for the sun as the sunflower does. At least, it looks like reaching for the sun. A sunflower grows in a way that the flower can benefit from most of the sunshine.

As described in this article (containing the poem of Rakesh Swain), the sunflower is linked to love and to the Ancient Greek mythology. The flower also represents loyalty, long life, good fortune and vitality. This flower is also the symbol of the harvest.

Once the flower is done growing, as it does during its entire life, the journey comes to an end. It seems as if the flower grew up to the sky or even heaven. The human desire to be granted into heaven or something of a godly paradise was even stronger at the time when Blake lived.

A sunflower dies when summer comes to an end. Summer is the main period in someone’s life and is followed by autumn and winter. Winter is the last part of life and eventually, the sunflower dies. So does the human.

There is this hope that Blake brings forward: the wish to be granted a place in heaven, once his life is over.

Ah! Sun-flower!

Ah! Sun-Flower!

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.


Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go


— William Blake

Ah! Sun-Flower!
Article Name
Ah! Sun-Flower!
A poem about life and the afterlife written by William Blake
Publisher Name
The Ministry of Poetic Affairs
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