This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.
Today I offer you Mirror by Sylvia Plath and Mirror, Mirror by Luccia Gray
Mirror by Sylvia Plath
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful ‚
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
Sylvia Plath was another great yet troubled postwar poet of the 20th century. Her verse exposed despair, violent emotion, and an obsession with death and suicide. Her poems were intensely autobiographical exploring her own mental anguish. She suffered symptoms of severe depression and bipolar disorder from an early age. Her first suicide attempt occurred at the age of 19, as a result of which she received electro-shock therapy. After recovering, Plath took a degree in the US and earned a Fulbright grant to study at Cambridge University in England, and it was there that she met and later married the poet Ted Hughes.
In this poem, the mirror is the narrator. It is observing and judging the woman who looks inside with fear and agitation. The mirror is honest and cruel. It watches the passing of time and how the young woman who looks at herself gradually becomes old. But the mirror which watches the woman also needs this woman, because when she’s not there looking at herself, there is nothing, the mirror is immersed in darkness. The woman and the mirror need each other, they are two sides of the same coin. They do not exist without each other, yet they cannot help each other when they are together, because they are never really together, it is only an illusion. They can never meet, like parallel lines. I venture to guess it’s something like being bipolar.
My mirror poem, also portrays a woman who is talking to her mirror which holds her other half, trying to become whole, which can only happen when the mirror invades her body with its shards. It is a dramatic poem, and although I am not now feeling any of the desperation that Sylvia Plath felt, I can fully understand, and may have glimpsed at the abyss myself, and watched people who were close to me overtaken by similar sensations of darkness and desperation.
Mirror, Mirror by Luccia Gray.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me what you see.
Can you help me to recall, the reason I must flee?
Mirror, mirror on the wall, can you see my soul?
Tell me once and for all, why I’m no longer whole.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, why’ve I lost my precious throne?
Where has my life gone? Where have my hopes flown?
Mirror, mirror on the wall, let me in, I’m lonely.
Slip off your shawl and open your arms to me only.
Mirror , mirror on the wall, tell me what I need to do,
Who can I call, if I you won’t let me stay with you?
Mirror, mirror on the wall, why are you so cruel?
You drown me in your waterfall, You challenge me to a duel.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, I don’t trust you any more.
You drew me in and let me fall, you make me sick to my very core.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, it’s over. I win, you lose.
Your shards pierce me as I fall, I’m covered in your tattoos.
Mirror, mirror now you’re in my heart,
So we shall never part.
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