To call The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur a masterpiece would be an understatement. In her beautiful second poetry anthology, the talented poet addresses the processes of life by comparing them to the life cycle of a flower. There is the wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming — each an eye-opening chapter filled with similar messages throughout the lines of each page. It is an emotional rollercoaster to say the least, and it makes you feel things you may not have felt in a long time. It enables internal, emotional discoveries and helps us to feel when sometimes we would rather not.
This chapter is about breaking, the first initial step after trauma, whether it be a breakup or a passing of some sort. The first poem in this chapter depicts the entire section beautifully:
“on the last day of love
my heart cracked inside my body”
This suggests to the audience the beginning of a literal new chapter. If we were to compare this to a human experience rather than a flower, we would most likely call it the “breaking.” Like flowers, we undergo similar circumstances in a similar pattern, or rhythm if you like. Wilting is the equivalent of a person’s heart shattering and the experience that the rest of the body undergoes after such a disaster.
This chapter is the first step after breaking. It occurs after a person has come to the realization of the previous step and makes an attempt to let themselves fall. It may seem like a negative thing, but it is portrayed as the first attempt at achieving recovery. The first poem says this simply:
“i notice everything i do not have
and decide it is beautiful”
It is a chapter of ups and downs as the poet looks at herself as an individual for once instead of as property of another being. It is coming to terms with yourself and eventually loving yourself despite the anger we are made to feel. It is self-love — not straight away, but an eventual process of self-discovery and enjoying the presence of one’s reflection.
While this chapter is also about self-discovery, it’s more about finding your place amongst the chaos. In this case, Rupi is an Indian “immigrant” (she refers to herself as one), and this section is about feeling like she belongs in a place where the color of her skin stands out unless compared to the earth in the ground. Her first poem in this section reads:
“they have no idea what it is like
to lose home at the risk of
never finding home again
to have your entire life
split between two lands and
become the bridge between two countries
For readers who are not from other countries, they can relate to the idea that after being broken and falling, we have to acknowledge the land in which we live and never take that for granted. In rough times, recognising your place and proving your worth is exactly what we need. It is losing yourself and feeling found again.
This is the first definitely positive part of the book. It is after the initial hit of rock bottom — after wilting, falling, and rooting. It is where we start the slow climb to recovery. It is the first person who helps you to feel whole again. It is finding love after being deprived of it for so long. Rupi makes note of this in her first poem for the chapter:
“on the first day of love
you wrapped me in the word special”
Here Rupi shows us we are never too stiff to be loved. We are always going to be able to get back to that point in the hill where we are confident to sit for a while, maybe set up a nice blanket and eat a sandwich. Love is out there. Rising is the reward for enduring such a rocky hike up to that part where blooming seems like common sense — which brings me to the next chapter.
Without any negativity staining the pure hopefulness of the pages, this chapter is everyone’s favorite. It is standing alone. It is not needing that person to help you to be whole anymore. It is self-love, self-actualization. It is recovery. Her first poem here reads:
“the universe took its time on you
crafted you to offer the world
something different from everyone else
when you doubt
how you were created
you doubt an energy greater than us both
That last word may as well be the entire poem; it is that powerful. I cannot stress to you how important it is that you wait for that last step: the blooming. The blooming is why we are here. It is the epitome of all good in this world. It is worth it. You are worth it. Like the rising, it is the reward, and it is so important that after all that trauma, we take a look at ourselves and let the journey of self-love lead the way.
Rupi Kaur’s book is so powerful in so many ways. It gives us hope. It ends happily. And so will you. The second you realize that, you’re already halfway there.
Keep going. Wait for the blooming. But you won’t get there without wilting or falling or rooting or rising. Persist, and life will reward.
You can buy Rupi’s second book here. Do it for the benefit of yourself.