Analyze the poem "Iris" by Sujata Bhatt.

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The poem describes a painting that the speaker is working on. The painting is very gray, even the flowers are tinged with gray. It represents the dullness of life without inspiration. When the sun appears and illuminates the iris flower, it turns deep purple. This shows how an artist can be inspired to paint when they see something beautiful or interesting.

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In “Iris,” Sujata Bhatt pays a generous tribute to the power of the imagination, as symbolized by the all-too-brief appearance of the sun.

The speaker of the poem is an artist in the process of painting a picture. Although the landscape she's painting is very beautiful, it's also very gray,...

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with the gray sky merging imperceptibly into the gray stone walls. Even the greenery is tinged with gray.

Amidst all this drabness stands a beautiful iris. Yet the flower has not yet reached its full beauty; it, too, is tinged with gray. But when the sunshine appears for a brief moment, the iris is completely transformed. Its largest petal “flushes / deep deep violet,” a violet “so intense it's almost black.”

The sudden appearance of the sun makes the speaker work more quickly, and “her hand moves swiftly from palette to paper.” One can see the sunshine as a symbol of artistic inspiration, something that induces the artist to create. Such inspiration, however, like the sun on an otherwise gray day, is all too brief, and the artist must make the most of it.

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