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Ferocious Flowers

Nothin' dainty about these flowers. Nope, these guys are pistol-firing, fire-cracking blossoms from photographer/filmmaker Andrew Zuckerman. Click on this image and stand back ...

Bang and they're dead.

It's a short, violent life these flowers have.

Here's another, this one flushing, throbbing, blushing red until it loses rhythm, loses color and then collapses, like a paper sack.

Andrew Zuckerman is known for his creatures-on-white projects. He's done birds-on-white, musicians-on-white; this one, his newest, flowers-on-white, reminds me of a poem by Alan Shapiro, who also likes his flowers ferocious.

Shapiro's poem is about a sunflower, which he called "a crucible"...

"... from which flames
burst with such
sticky brightness
that they suck
sunlight down
into the in-
fluorescent burning
pit of itself.

Did I
say sunflower? Say,
instead, don't-ever-
mess-with-me. Say

That's the kind of flower you meet in these videos — tough, voluptuous, but very quickly, like all of us ... dead.

Here's a medley.

Thanks to Maria Popova and her blog Brain Pickings for leading me to these flower videos. Andrew Zuckerman's Flower Project is on display here. He's also got a new book of flower photos. The poem I quoted from, by Alan Shapiro, is called, not surprisingly, "Sunflower." You can find it (in its original, much longer version) in his collection Tantalus in Love Poems.

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Robert Krulwich works on radio, podcasts, video, the blogosphere. He has been called "the most inventive network reporter in television" by TV Guide.

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