Reflection on poppy seeds

A little while back I had a steep learning curve experience when it came to viola seeds. If you’re a regular reader, you may remember that it came as a teensy shock to me that they would explode all over my studio for no reason other than that they could. After I cleaned the resulting chaos up, I vowed that I would not be caught out again – forewarned is forearmed and all that. Y’know?

So when I stepped outside earlier this week and noticed that the poppies had pretty much gone to seed and it was time to collect them in or be damned to RPG (random poppy growth) next summer, I quickly ran for my secateurs (*AHEM* my FAB hubby did the running part. I am a lady and ladies don’t DO running!) and collected the dead-heads in this afternoon.

They looked so pretty sitting on the tray, waiting to be harvested, with their cheerful little top-knots and rounded, fat heads.

I decided they needed a photo-shoot – Mother Nature deserved it, thought I to myself. I do a lot of thinking to myself. I find that I usually understand where my train of thought is going, although there have been occasions when this has eluded even me. Back in the real world, I gathered all my equipment and set up shop outside on the patio, in-between downpours. How warm and Summery it was, sitting there, with the sun blazing down on my back! You’d almost think it WAS Summer! I should really get a grip here…

I was struck by the gentle rattling noise that they made as I held the stems; like tiny baby rattles or mini-maracas. Momentarily I envisaged a Thumbelina-sized Carmen Miranda sashaying down my patio, with a couple of poppy seed heads, shaking them for all they were worth. The house martens would have raised an eyebrow, if they’d had one to raise of course.

So handling my trusty scalpel  (there’s a idea that many people live in fear of – me with a scalpel, yoiks!) very carefully indeed, I scalped each little head and found thousands of tiny black, kidney-shaped  seeds inside each one. The insides have several segmented pockets to hold the seed in – I imagine this to to maximise the storage load effectively – only one of my seed heads was empty, which I think meant a pretty good haul.

I wrote a haiku to accompany the seeds, so rick and deeply dark are they, lying huddled at the bottom of the jar.

Lilliputian dot,

Life-bringing kernel of sleep,

Dark, charcoal-hued grain.

Yes… it probably needs some work on that one 🙂

Photographing each stage as I was doing this was revealing – I always notice much more when I’ve got the subject under the 100mm macro lens. Teensy bugs trampled in and out of the collected seeds and the emptied vessels.

But it was the muted colour scheme that fascinated me most I think.

Naturally, I couldn’t resist toying with the images – so here’s this evening’s visual offering

Composite view of the poppy heads
Composite view of the poppy heads


The various viewpoints reminded me of all sorts of other things – heads, bowed in prayer, lots of tiny, toothy yet sightless monster zombies bearing down on me (I should perhaps put the fizzy drinks down …!) a carpet of tiny sea-anemones reaching out to me…  so then, I started with the orbing again …

I love the pattern these scalped remains made
I love the pattern these scalped remains made
Patterns and textures from the unique perspective of orbs
Patterns and textures from the unique perspective of orbs
Technically, this is a composite of orbs and straight photos
Technically, this is a composite of orbs and straight photos

Then, I really did get carried away. I was struck by the resemblance of the seed heads to a group of shaven-headed worshippers – perhaps a group of Tibetan monks. I wanted to create something that resembled worshipping and since Buddhist monks spend so much of their time in reflective meditation, I went with that as inspiration for this image. As I have finally learned to meditate, it seems an appropriate visual statement about my day. I wonder what you think?

'Congregation reflections'
‘Congregation reflections’


Thanks for reading! Do come again!


3 Replies to “Reflection on poppy seeds”

  1. Reblogged this on milee1312's Blog and commented:
    From my good friend, that I have yet to meet, across the sea.
    I am sharing because I am in true awe of her way with words and her photography skills.
    I love that she makes me think, reflect on items or thoughts would normally not enter my mind. I appreciate having my perspectives challenged.
    Thank you Liz.


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