Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Patterns

Posted: April 8, 2014 in Cee's Photo Challenges, Poetry
Tags: , , , ,

I’m like the little boy in “Sixth Sense” except rather than seeing dead people everywhere, I see patterns.  So the Fun Foto Challenge this week gives me the chance to trot out a few photos that I really like.  The first two aren’t edited at all (with the exception of the frame and my name), the third has a soft focus applied along with the two edits mentioned above.  But I felt the lily didn’t really need gilding on these.  They spoke for themselves.

I’m excited to be one of Cee’s featured bloggers from last week’s challenge, “Smooth.”  Big thanks to Dale Chihuly for giving me such gorgeous glass to photograph and thanks, Cee, for the acknowledgement.  I’m also excited to discover that I can tilt my signature/name on my photos with Picasa 3. From such small things do tiny bit of joy come!




There’s a poem by Amy Lowell entitled “Patterns” that I featured once before on a post about patterns. Here is again for your enjoyment. Amy Lowell is a poet(ess) worth seeking out.

By Amy Lowell

I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.

My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whale-bone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the splashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday sen’night.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” l told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

Amy Lowell, “Patterns” from The Complete Poetical Works of Amy Lowell. Copyright © 1955 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © renewed 1983 by Houghton Mifflin Company, Brinton P. Roberts, and G. D’Andelot, Esquire. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: Selected Poems of Amy Lowell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002)

  1. Most creative & stunning photography! The poem is very well matched & captivating too…
    Thanks for introducing me to another poet 🙂

    • I’ve loved that poem for years. Amy Lowell’s poetry is more lush than much poetry today, in the manner of many earlier poets. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, too. 🙂


  2. I especially like the onions. Good eye.

  3. M-R says:

    Lovely patterns.
    Lovely “Patterns”.
    Wonderful, both. Specially the Spanish onion. 😉

    • When I grew up, my mother never cooked with onions. I, on the other hand, use them constantly.


      • To #1, I don’t know. To #2, because we love them and they’re in so many recipes. 🙂 Or…why not?

      • M-R says:

        You don’t know? – did you never ask her?

      • She must not have grown up eating them or I’m sure she would be using them. When I went to Europe in the 70’s for almost a year, I ate a lot of great things I’d never had before and decided I’d better starting learning to cook (dorm students at my college ate at the dining hall) so I could have all this great food. My dad grew up on the farm and although his mom was a good cook, they were like most farmers then, meat and potatoes people with veggies from the garden.

      • M-R says:

        You must be right; simply a matter of familiarity – or not, in this case. :-\

  4. suej says:

    Good eye for patterns – love that second shot!

  5. giberson9 says:

    Great patterns Janet. I love patterns and couldn’t decide what direction to take with mine!

  6. […] Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Patterns | This, that and the other thing […]

  7. Amy says:

    Love these patterns, especially the first one!

  8. Awesome subjects for this challenge. 😀

  9. These are great photos, Janet. I think I’m drawn more to the second one. What a beautiful but sad poem. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Linda, I’m glad you liked the photos as well as the poem. I think she conveys some of the terrible things about war very well in it. Somewhere in my boxes of books, I have an entire book of her poems. I’ll have to find it and read some more.


  10. Leya says:

    Wow, these are great shots and patterns – all of them.

  11. Cee Neuner says:

    Marvelous choices for patterns. These are wonderful. Thanks for playing with all of us.

  12. Beyond the patterns, those rich textures are the photographic fodder I crave! There’s such incredible depth to these seemingly simple compositions. Amazing how the right eye can turn ordinary objects into art.

  13. […] Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Patterns | This, that and the other thing […]

  14. […] in-Just Fog The Highwayman When the Frost is on the Punkin A Ballad of China And don’t forget Patterns. […]

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