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Comment 12 of 52, added on November 5th, 2009 at 3:03 PM.
I first heard this poem as spoken by the great British actress Edith Evans
on a vinyl disc. If anyone can get hold of a copy of this recording it
will add many layers to an already very moving poem. It also, in Dame
Edith's interpretation reminds one where in history the poem is set.
Delia Lindsay from United Kingdom
Comment 11 of 52, added on July 24th, 2008 at 3:37 AM.
Yes, I agree that this is a great poem. It reminds me of Emily Dickinson's
poem about "After great sadness, a formal feeling comes" or something along
those lines. I don't see any correlation to this and Lowell's lesbianism
as asserted in a comment below - as a fiction writer, I am well aware how
someone can speak in many voices, and this could be her imagining herself
as the speaker, or even imagining what her own lover might feel should she
die - I don't see any gender constraints to it at all. It is a poem of
great passion and illustrates so well how that formal feeling comes when a
relationship ends. Also, it seems to me to be an anti-war poem. How the
pattern of human society, which includes war, occurs again and again and
how devestating it is to the individuals involved.
I love this for its inventive rhyme pattern. It seems to be challenging
formal rhyme styles in a new free verse rhyming way - it's brilliant!
Comment 10 of 52, added on July 24th, 2008 at 1:27 AM.
I think that the correctness in her corset relates to the fact that after
her lover died she had to once again be the perfect portrayal of womanhood,
when her lover was alive, it did not matter whether a ribbon was loose or
what not. But I do agree with the idea that the main idea focuses on
conformity based on gender etc. I think that it is more about the
"patterns" of one's position, and when her lover died she said "a pattern
called war" which emphasizes the tragedy of conforming or doing what you
are 'supposed' to do....all in all it is a very interesting poem
camille from United States
Comment 9 of 52, added on March 23rd, 2008 at 6:03 AM.
I found it really difficult to analyse poetry until i read this particular
work. This poem made me think about the woman's frame of mind and how her
emotions develop as she tells us her story. I came up with a piece of work
that i am particularly proud of and will hand in to my Lit teacher with a
triumphant grin. This is the first piece of poetry that has had a big
impression on me (on a personal level), and i am now beggining the search
for more of Amy Lowell's work.
Kaitlin from Australia
Comment 8 of 52, added on December 7th, 2007 at 12:19 AM.
I disagree with Bill completely. The poem isn't about the poet losing
someone and having everything come crashing down. Lowell was a lesbian and
this poem has to do with societal constriction of the female in 20th
century America. She is attempting to liberate women from these "patterns"
using many poetic devices including imagery. If you reread the poem, you
will notice that her stiff, brocade gown is now 'correct' after her lover
has passed away. She now has the ability to be true to herself. I'm not
saying that your interpretation isn't fine and all, but there is something
else going on here.
Tim from United States
Comment 7 of 52, added on April 14th, 2007 at 3:45 PM.
I came across Patterns in the Random House anthology.
Of course the piece has many points for analysis, but here's what grabbed
me: I've been working on a military history TV project for a fwe years and
have been to Iraq, Bosnia and such sad places. I think patters captures
that empty, sinking feeling that comes with word of a soldier/loved one's
death - realizing that the dreams and anticipation of a wonderful future
are instantly gone.
from United States
Comment 6 of 52, added on April 9th, 2006 at 9:06 AM.
The idea of confinement caused by societal patterns is evident. More so
when you realize the author of this poem was lesbian.
Nadine from Canada
Comment 5 of 52, added on November 28th, 2005 at 7:32 PM.
I just read this poem a few ago in order to begin a paper on it for my
college poetry class. I found the most interesting part of this poem on the
first read through was the intense imagery. Everyone can picture this poor
woman and her broken heart. However, there truly is a much deeper meaning
to this piece. The last two lines, "In a pattern called a war./ Christ!
What are patterns for?" reveals that the speaker, much like the author
views society's "patterns" in a negative way. What I don't understand is
why Lowell chooses to write this long poem about a woman and her fiance to
prove this point. It is an amazing work though.
Tara from United States
Comment 4 of 52, added on November 7th, 2005 at 4:21 PM.
I am in High School now and my friend and I are analizing this poem in
class and I just wanted to get a little more information. The pattern is
that she was once alone, but finds someone, and now is alone again. Thanks
for the other ideas.
Janelle from United States
Comment 3 of 52, added on October 19th, 2005 at 6:32 PM.
A lovely poem which I, too, read for the 1st time in high school and have
only just re-visited. The patterns of everything: gardens, clothing,
behavior(society) which keep us going and also confine us...what are
patterns for? They can be a prop, they can also keep one walking around and
around in the same garden for the rest of one's life. Because the voice of
this poem actually asks this question at the end, I see some hope that this
very patterned woman in a very patterned society may yet step out of her
brocade and whalebone...a very positive image that I did not pick up when I
Melissa from United States
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