Bipolar Poetry with Jekyll and Hyde Theme

Today’s folding mirror poem deals with the difficult topic of bipolarity, or Manic Depression as it used to be called.

I don’t know if I’ve got it, or had it, but I have had a lot of bad moods, as well as many euphoric ones.

It’s a small poem and a simple mirror structure.

Anyway, here’s the poem.  Enjoy!


Moody Blues

Look at the state of You

ugly, obscene, disgusting,

you fill me full of ennui

boring, repetitive, ageing,


clouds lift, shining light


exciting, innovative, prime,

you fill me full of pride

handsome, moral, sublime,

Take a good look at Hyde

Nature Poetry of Valley Reflections

Below is another old folding mirror poem that was inspired by a visit to Otley Chevin, near Leeds in West Yorkshire, England.  It is a nature poem in the style popularised by the Romantics in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The chevin was a happy stomping ground for Romantic artist, J.M. Turner, and it is thought to have inspired his famous painting, Hannibal Crossing the Alps.

The folding mirror line, ‘a river runs through it’ divides the poem as rivers divide the ground on either side of valleys, and was inspired by the touching 1992 film of the same name.

The poem mirrors in line word amounts and the punctuation, but not in metre.

The poem works from on top of the valley on the outer lines to the bottom of the valley on the inner lines on each side, and then the river is reached on the valley bottom in the middle line.

Some lines feature words switched around in the two halves of the lines, while other lines have completely different words.


Valley Reflections

On valley top, trees provide splendour.
Above granite crags beyond, our time.
Waterfalls falling poetic motion, past caves.
Down to the valley floor, lush and green.

A river runs through it

Up from the valley bottom, vegetation and verdant.
Paths rising winding lines, through passes.
Rocks overhanging forming shapes, past reality.
Trees provide splendour, on valley top.

Sarah James on Site with Competition Winning Folding Mirror

I am proud to welcome the first guest poet to the site today.  I consider Sarah James (Leavesley) to be a proper poet, while I’m an aspiring wordsmith, so it’s great to see her work in the form.

Moreover, Sarah has kindly allowed the use of her Writelink folding mirror competition winning poem, Left for right.

Sarah interpreted the folding mirror in a strict form, with the two halves mirroring each other in words and metre.  The folding middle line is omitted.

She has also described the thought behind the poem as an introduction, and how the mirror form also plays a central part in the subject matter.

I hope you enjoy the poem, and thanks again Sarah.

Concerned with Shape

 by Sarah James (aka Sarah Leavesley, at )

Playing with punctuation helped me to create the following mirror poem, Left for right, which was winner of the folding mirror poetry contest in September 2007. The mirror is central to this poem in subject matter as well as form. I also felt the slightly self-conscious concern with shape of the full (palindromic) mirror form echoed the feelings and concerns of the poem’s central character. Hopefully, the changes in punctuation in the second half help to underline the central point of the poem that a reflection is similar but not identical (a mirror image!) to reality.

Left for right

This naked shape in the mirror
reminds me of the woman I was before:
I remember silk camisoles, his ex-wife,
the curves of his hungry caresses.
The mirror sneakily swaps
left for right, whole breast for scalpel scars.

Left for right, whole breast for scalpel scars:
the mirror sneakily swaps
the curves of his hungry caresses.
I remember silk camisoles. His ex-wife
reminds me of the woman I was before
this naked shape in the mirror.

Football Ground Folding Mirror

This folding mirror was the one of four published on the football poets site and looks at how two sets of supporters will often have similar traditions, songs and dreams, but of course support different teams.

Often the difference is apparent from the colours of the team, and that is the main difference between the two sets of fans displayed below on either side of the folding middle line.  The top half of the poem features the north end supporters, while the bottom half has the south end.

Some lines feature the same words as their opposite lines in the other half of the poem, while other lines mix the words up a bit within the line or introduce new words altogether.

The folding middle is of course the half-way line.


Football Ground Mirror

Red and white, we’re north end dynamite
Behind the goal
shouting and singing:
we’ll support you ever more;
up and up and up we go.
Towards the middle,
there’s less noise,
but more tension
contained in harrumphing
bellows from ardent campaigners

Behind the dugouts chairmen and executives ponder football and finance

tension from seasoned supporters
exhibited only rarely
the odd shout.
There’s more noise,
Towards the goals,
up and up and up we go,
we’ll support you ever more;
shouting and singing:
Behind the goal
White and Blue, we’re the southern crew

Mountain Mirror: Nature’s Citadels

There is another early folding mirror below, and this one starts and ends on the floor under a mountain, with the folding middle line the summit.

The Poem

The top half of the poem is the climb up, the ascent, while the bottom half is the walk down, the descent.

The poem evokes images of mountain peaks, the scenery that makes it all worthwhile, and the feelings of awe and anticipation at arrival and achievement and sorrow afterwards.

Between the two emotions is the peak.

The Structure

Many of the lines feature the same words in each line on both sides, while some lines switch the words around within the line.

An example of the latter is how ‘lime and tan replaced by ebony and ivory’ on the way up the mountain in the first half of the poem is reversed on the way down in the second half of the poem.

Get on your hiking gear, watch your footing, and please enjoy the climb!

Mountain Mirror: Ascent and Descent

On terra firma, gazing to the skies.

Before us,                                                     

a mountain of majesty, standing so proud.

Ascending, the narrow path leaves little room.

Onwards and upwards, we see the valley disappear below,

lime and tan replaced by ebony and ivory.

Through clouds, ice and snow we climb.

As it steepens, sheer cliffs we navigate;

the peak is within a stone’s throw.

 On the summit; freezing but ecstatic, on top of the world.

 We leave the peak with reluctant hearts;

with careful steps, sheer cliffs we navigate.

Through clouds, ice and snow we climb;

ebony and ivory replaced by lime and tan.

Onwards and downwards, we see the summit disappear above,

Descending, the narrow path leaves little room.

A mountain of majesty, standing so proud, 

Behind us.

On terra-firma, gazing to the skies.


Geographic Poles Inspired Poetry

After the serious topic of the first folding mirror the next few mixed nature, football and comedy as their subjects, and the one featured below managed to combine two of the three.

The poem uses the equator as the folding middle line, and mirrors the north (top half) and south (bottom half) poles.

Structurally, the poem succeeds in mirroring the word count and metre of the lines in each half, but the punctuation doesn’t mirror.

With the words, watch how gloom and room switch between the outer and next to outer lines in the two halves of the poem.

Both halves contain references to the cold and solitude in the poles, but the life form chosen for the top half is more humouros and the bottom half more tragic.



Long way from the Equator

Mountains of ice, winter gloom.

Not many people, plenty of room.

Polar bears,

get plenty of stares

Long way from the Equator

Scott and Oates lost

their lives,

Humans are rare, plenty of gloom,

Icebergs of doom, winter room.

The First Folding Mirror

The first folding mirror poem happened by accident.

I was writing a poem for a competition a couple of years ago, and just noticed that the two halves of the poem and the subject’s life seemed to mirror.

The poem’s structure was working out to be about the same amount of words each line, either side of a defining moment.

This reminded me of what I knew about the haiku structure, with two same sized lines either side of a longer middle line.

So I then created the poem with the same amount of words in each corresponding line (first and last / outside and outside etc) either side of the defining middle line: the folding mirror was born!

The poem was about an unfortunate woman’s life, from birth to death. 

It’s title plays on Jimi Hendrix’s Stone Free.

Its time and place was made vague on purpose.

It is not a hate poem, but a call for change and liberty.

Reading the poem it could be from history or the present; and the subject could even be male, as many men have similar experiences.  

The poems is below, with an explanation of its structure to the side of each line:

Stoned Free

Comfort, Crying, Freedom           (as with the last line, three words separated by two commas)

Sold into slavery,             (as with the second last line, three words and comma)

Beaten, Raped,            (as with third from last line, two words and two commas)

Unwanted by twenty,          (as with fourth from last line, three words and a comma)

Accused of immorality, Judged,         (the folding middle line)

Guilty of course,          (as with fourth line, three words and a comma) 

Jeering, Hatred,         (as with third line, two words and two commas)

Surrounded by men,         (as with the second line, three words and comma)

Pain, Confusion, Liberation  (as with the first line, three words separated by two commas)

Haiku and The Simple Idea of Folding Mirror

The folding mirror poetry can be as simple or complex as you want to make it.


Take the haiku form, which was the main inspiration for the folding mirror.

Haiku works on a five seven five syllable format, so that’s:

syllable syllable syllable syllable syllable
syllable syllable syllable syllable syllable syllable syllable
syllable syllable syllable syllable syllable

Over the centuries and many miles of travelling the  haiku form has been experimented with and adapted, and the same has already happened with the folding mirror form.

Haiku Inspires Folding Mirror

When I first thought of the folding mirror I just thought that the structure of two halves of poetry should mirror each other either side of a folding middle line. 

For example, in the structure below, the lines on the outside have three words, the middle lines have two words and the lines nearest to the folding mirror line have four words:

word word word
word word
word word word word

folding mirror line

word word word word
word word
word word word

The Development of Folding Mirror

However, when Writelink ran a folding mirror competition some poets interpreted the form more strictly, with even the words mirroring each other in the two halves, while others tried a looser form, with the two sides not even mirroring each other structurally.

It was great to see the form developing so quickly, and also how it inspired lots of great ideas and poetry.

Recent Experimentation and Inspiration

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the folding line, and how it can either stand alone, link the two halves, end the first half of the poem or begin the second half.

It has also inspired me to read and interpret ten Romantic paintings in a way that I wouldn’t have done without the form.

So hopefully there is a lot of use for the folding mirror form, and it will inspire poets to pen innovative poetry for years to come.

Hello Poets and Readers

This site was set up in the middle of March 2009, and will hopefully provide a base for the exhibition and promotion of folding mirror poetry.

Please feel free to leave contributions in Comments, or by email to and I’ll put them up on the site as long as it’s okay with you.

I hope you enjoy the poems, and try some folding mirrors. 

Any views and reviews are also welcomed.

It’s a new site and poetry form, so maybe you’ll be at the forefront of its development.