Poem with a Serious Message?

Today’s Folding Mirror is an early and simple one I did. It’s not a preaching poem, and I’ll hopefully be enjoying a few pints tomorrow night myself, but I also watched a drama about George Best and his mother last night, so it seems apt timing.

The Content

I thought the flatline (influenced by the film, Flatliners) was a perfect folding middle line, and constructed the poem around it.

The topic is how we can abuse our bodies with drink and smoking, but there is a happy ending, as after the subject declines in the first half of the poem and flatlines in the middle, he/she recovers in the second.

The heart makes itself known in each half of the poem: in pain in the first half, and recovery in the second.

The subject returns to her/his previous habits in the last line, as set out in the first.

The Structure

The two sides are straight mirrors, as they have the same words and punctuation in each paired line.

The Poem

I hope you enjoy the poem, and your weekend!

Dicing with Death

Drinking at the bar, smoking a few tabs…
Heart makes itself known,
On a hospital bed, fighting for life,


On a hospital bed, fighting for life,
Heart makes itself known,
Drinking at the bar, smoking a few tabs…

More Sarah James Poetry

Today we have the fourth Sarah James poem to appear on this site, and it’s a nicely crafted folding mirror that tells a complete and touching story.

I’ll pass you over to Sarah to introduce the poem and Bookworms follows straight after.

Introduction: Loosening the Binding

by Sarah James (aka Sarah Leavesley, at http://www.sarah-james.co.uk )

My poem Bookworms was written to test out the folding mirror form and explore the looser boundaries it allows compared to the more traditional palindromic mirror poem. Here the poem folds around a crucial central line: ‘But we reached a full stop…’, with a mirroring of lines in terms of the punctuation and the number of words in each line. This seemed a subtler, more appropriate representation of the book form than a full palindromic (the same words) mirror form. The two pages do not mirror each other but are connected and similar in terms of lay-out. For similar reasons, I also chose to rhyme the paired folding mirror lines: kiss and miss, stacks and syntax…

The Poem: Bookworms

It started with the great bard, his starstruck lovers’ first kiss.
Romance was strengthened by the pungent smell of library stacks.
As we slowly savoured book titles letter by lingering letter,
words collapsed beneath us, skin caressed knobbly spines.

But we reached a full stop. Something didn’t flow…

stumbled over true emotion, hidden between poetic lines.
Our relationship stretched with spaces different interests now filled better,
Newton’s theories fascinated you more than my questioning English syntax.
It was no tragic love tale, but a lucky near miss.

Football Folding Mirror Completes the Set

Today’s folding mirror poem is the fourth and final footballing fm thus far created.

With the football season drawing to a close in the UK it is a timely addition to the site.

The Form

The poem has the same amount of words per line in both halves (outer and outer etc as explained previously), but the punctuation is a little different, and the meter is a bit wonky.

The Subject

The poem looks at the football season from the start to the finish, and works from the top of the poem to the bottom.

The holiday season at the end of December and start of January provides the folding middle line, as this is the half way point of the season.

The poem draws attention to how the season starts and ends in good weather months, with the dryness creating hard pitches; while the middle of the season is played in wet and cold months, which results in muddy pitches and makes good football hard to play.

One Season: Two Halves

Fields of concrete, don’t fall down.
Hopes are high, like the sun.
Through autumn, muddy pitches
make life difficult, and good football increasingly scarce.
Come winter, frosts cause cancellations.

But over the festive season there is a full programme.

Late winter, frosts cause cancellations.
In early spring, rain still falls on grass;
skilful football, still rare.
But Sunshine warms, in late spring.
Fields of concrete, mean season’ s end.

Poetry From Scotland to France, Geography and Culture

After a week of mostly theory on this blog I thought it was time for a bit of poetry.

The Poem Subject
The following poem was influenced by my visit to Scotland last year, my hitching across the south of France over twenty years ago, and seeing a television nature programme on the north of Scotland’s white sandy beaches.

I thought that the north of Scotland and the south of France surprisingly share many similarities: white beaches with mountains inland, and that it might make a decent folding mirror poem with the English Channel providing the folding middle line.

This meant that the poem grew to include the whole of Britain and France, rather than just the north of Scotland and south of France as first envisaged.

The north of Scotland is at the top of the poem, and then it works down through the Highlands to the big cities in the UK. At the bottom of the poem the big cities of France lead south through the mountains to the southern beach.

The Structure

The poem contains two types of lines that can be used in folding mirrors. These show the geographic similarities and cultural differences either side of the English Channel.

The outer three lines have the same words either side, emphasising the geographical similarities in the two countries, but switched around in their lines to create a reflective effect, as explained with the colours yesterday.

The inner three lines have the same word counts and punctuation, but the different drinks, foods and cars of the two countries.

Here’s the poem. Enjoy!

From Morar to Monte Carlo

White sand and azure sea
Rolling hills to high peaks
Villages, towns and cities
Beer and whiskey,
Bangers and mash, fish and chips
Jaguar and Rover

Connected through a tunnel under the North Sea

Renault and Peugeot
Pot au feu, coq au vin
Wine and cognac,
Cities, towns and villages
High peaks to rolling hills
Azure sea and white sand

Changing Words for Creative Effect

Yesterday and the day before I exhibited the colours poem/diagram to show how words can be changed around in a line to produce a reflective effect.

I had done that poem years ago, and it only came to me a couple of days ago that it’d be a good way of explaining the reverse folding mirror effect.

Changing Words to Connected Ones to Avoid Repetition

Then, this morning, I was thinking that it can also be used to show how changing the words in either side of the poem can produce a more interesting effect, although sometimes you may prefer to keep the words the same in both halves to achieve the effect you desire.

The use of different words to avoid repetition and spruce up a document is one of the essential rules of writing.

You can view the revised poem/diagram here

Wikipedia Colours (Colors) page

I found the alternative colours at a wikipedia page with a wealth of colour info.

Vertical and Reverse Folding Mirror Poetry

Folding mirrors can either reflect vertically or in reverse, as mirrors do.

The vertical reflecting, where the words mirror in a linear fashion, rather than reversing, is known as specular and an example of this is Sarah James’ Left to Right.

With the reverse folding mirrors the words do not go backwards, as with the real mirror reflections (see image). Instead, words reverse in their placement on their respective lines.

Mirror Writing
Mirror Writing

The poem/diagram below is a simple example of how words can be placed in opposite places in either half of a poem to create a reverse mirror effect.

-Black Brown Grey White-
–Blue Green Yellow–
—Purple Red—
—Red Purple—
–Yellow Green Blue–
-White Grey Brown Black-

Football Career Folding Mirror Poem

Today’s folding mirror comes back down to earth with the third footballing folding mirror to appear on site.

My Football Career

I wanted to become a footballer when young, and had a trial for a professional club, but despite two clean sheets (I was a goalie then) in my two games I didn’t get taken on. I’m still recovering!

Anyway, a lot of people make it much further than me only to get their hopes dashed, while others start a career only for it to go downhill soon after; either through loss of form or injury.

Football Success

In contrast, some go on to mega star status and earn obscene money; not saying I’d turn it down, and you can’t blame the players, but like the banking sector is apparently now going to be controlled surely there should be a similar system for football.

Most footballers have good but ordinary careers, becoming famous for ten or twenty years, and taking on legendary status at any club they stay with for long enough to make a real impact.

Today’s Folding Mirror Poem

This poem relates mostly to the latter type; the average footballer who has a good career with the usual ups and downs.

Leeds United fans’ player of the year, Jermaine Beckford, who has scored over 30 goals this season, provided the main individual inspiration for the first half of the poem.

Also a bit of T-Rex in there for music lovers!

The Poem Structure and Contents

The poem mirrors exactly in the two halves.

It starts from the beginning of a player’s career and ends with retirement, with the peak providing the middle line.

Football Career Mirror

Successful trial, dreams realised.
Through the ranks, honing, improving:
Into the first team, grooving.
Extended spell develops game, first name on the team-sheet.

Career peak: cups and medals, captaincy and caps, even bag-a-gong

Injuries bring extended absence, no longer part of team-plans.
Never really the same, waning.
Down the leagues, slowing, declining:
Retirement announced, ambitions achieved.

Dangers of Nature: Tornado Poetry

Today’s folding mirror describes the possible effects of a tornado: with its approach in the top half and its departure in the bottom.

Division of the Subject and Word Positioning

In the outer lines the ‘azure horizon’ and ‘beige dust’ swap positions between beginning and end.

The second from the outer lines mirror exactly.

The next four lines describe the approach in the upper half, and departure in the bottom half.

The folding middle line is the eye of the storm.

Reflections on Punctuation

The four outer lines in the two halves of the poem mirror each other both in line words and punctuation.

The inner two lines do not mirror in punctuation, and reflect as in opposites rather than following the same way as each other.

In the upper half the semi-colon in the second line from the middle comes after the first word ‘Turmoil’, while in its corresponding line in the bottom half the semi-colon comes before the last word ‘disarray’.

Similarly, the first word in the line before the middle in the upper half ‘Spinning’ comes before a comma and is followed by three words, while in the corresponding line in the bottom half three words come before a full-stop and the word ‘Outward’.

I hope that’s clear enough to follow, and enjoy the poem.

Twister, Twister, Eye of the Storm

Biege dust on the azure horizon.
Twister, twister, it’s a twister.
Eating, gorging, lifting, sweeping.
Approaching, awesome, feel the wind.
Turmoil; consumed by nature.
Spinning, upward into the

eye of the storm

of the century. Outward,
spat by nature; disarray.
Departing, fantastic, the wind feels.
Spewing, disgorging, releasing, throwing.
Twister, twister, it’s a twister.
Azure horizon obscured by beige dust.