Innovative New Folding Mirror Poem by Caroline Gill

Today, we have a new innovative Folding Mirror poem by Caroline Gill, which not only uses knowledge of the colour wheel to produce a mesmerising mirror effect, but also ingeniously contains the first palindromic folding middle line (the letters mirror each other either side of the b in bat).

I’ll let Caroline explain her rationale, and this is followed by the poem and relevant links.

Thanks to Caroline for creating the poem and sharing it with us here on this blog.


I hoped to build on Dr Marc Latham’s ‘Colours‘ poem, in which Marc used different colours to show linked words.


I wanted to combine complementary colours from the colour wheel with mirror imagery.

Seeing Stars at Sunset is intended to feature opposites: black and white; red and green, orange and blue – in addition to secondary colours that can be mixed from the primaries i.e. green (mixed from yellow and blue); orange (mixed from red and yellow), and purple (mixed from red and blue).

I thought that it would be fun to make a ‘concrete poem’ in the shape of a bat with outstretched wings. For maximum impact it needed to be simple and seen at a glance.

For a more pleasing aesthetic effect on the page or screen, I would have liked a better background colour for the words. The word ‘white’ did not show up on white ground, without a pigmented border of some kind.

The pivotal central line is, of course, a ‘palindromic question’, but I don’t think it would have worked with a question mark at each end!

The Poem

Seeing Stars Folding Mirror Poem
Seeing Stars Folding Mirror Poem


Colour Wheel
Water Colour Painting


The Completed Set of Ten Romantic Art Interpretations

Today we have the tenth and final ekphrastic poem interpreting and describing Romantic paintings.

Hannibal and His Men Crossing the Alps is the second from J.M.W. Turner, and is thought to have been inspired by a storm experienced by Turner on Otley Chevin near Leeds.

Structure and Explanation

The poem works from top to bottom of the painting, with the mountains and light in the middle of the painting providing the folding middle line.

The storm fills the top half, and Hannibal’s army the bottom.

The words per line mirror with a 2-2-3-5-4-4- 5 -4-4-5-3-2-2 count.

The Poem

That’s All We Need!

swirling storm
arching cobralike
ready to strike
sheer skin of many greys
twisting as if crazed
below aiming head above

mountains silhouetted against distant light

observe Hannibal lead the
dispersing as in panic
men and elephants of war
hoping to survive
scattering birdlike
gimme shelter

The Painting

Turner's Hannibal Crossing the Alps
Turner's Hannibal Crossing the Alps

Copied from Wikipedia

Thomas Girtin’s Bamburgh Castle: 9 out of 10

In the ninth of ten ekphrastic poems interpreting and describing Romantic paintings we have the second from Thomas Girtin.

J.M.W. Turner, who was friends with Girtin and is widely considered to be Britain’s greatest landscape artist said that he would have lived in poverty had Girtin not died young.

Structure and Explanation

The poem works from the top right corner of the painting down through the castle tower doorway, which provides the folding middle line, and continues down to the left hand bottom corner of the painting in the lower half of the poem.

The poem has a simple structure of 3-5-5-4- 4 -4-5-5-3 words per line.

The Poem

Gatekeeper of Light: Girtin’s Bamburgh Castle

Grey skies swirling
around blue sky a burring
heaven sent hole in cloud
letting sun shine down

On Bamburgh Castle tower

gatekeeper opens to leave
light exit the doorway onto
seagull flock circle a twirling
Storm seas whirling

The Painting

Thomas Girtin's Bamburgh Castle
Thomas Girtin's Bamburgh Castle

Copied from Wikipedia.

Thomas Gainsborough’s Gypsy Camp Sunset

Today’s ekphrastic (thanks Caroline!) poem is the eighth of ten in the series, and second by Thomas Gainsborough, who was the leading British landscape painter in the 18th century, and an inspiration to those who followed in his footsteps at the end of the century and in the next.

Explanation and Structure

I just restructured this, and worked the poem from the top of the painting to the bottom, using the glowing sunset and campfire, which also mirror each other somewhat, as the folding middle line.

The Poem

from Thomas Gainsborough’s Gypsy Encampment, Sunset circa 1778-80

Greenygrey Gypsy Camp

Grey cloud green trees
dominate evening sky
darkness and light
signify the upcoming night
above the

corn-colour sunset and gypsy campfire

show how
two horses wait patiently
brown and white
provide contrast to
Green banks grey pond

The Painting

Thomas Gainsborough's Gypsy Camp Sunset
Thomas Gainsborough's Gypsy Camp Sunset

Copied from the Tate Gallery.

Poem of a Madman? William Blake and the Divine Comedy

In the BBC’s recent Changing of the Bard programme Ian Hislop talked about the Romantics and described Wordsworth as an alcoholic, Byron an adulterer and William Blake a madman.

I like William Blake. For any film buffs wanting to see a good film with William Blake abstract relevance that the great man would probably have admired I recommend Dead Man.

And today we have the second of Blake’s paintings to be interpreted through Folding Mirror poetry.

Explanation and Structure

This is a folding mirror poem inspired by Blake’s Dante and Virgil Penetrating the Forest (1824-7).

Here, the line word counts (6-8-8-7- 9 -7-8-8-6) and punctuation mirror each other on either side of the middle.

The human heads in the painting are used as the central focus, and the two sides of the poem start from the middle line and spread out to the beginning and end of the poem from the heads.

The middle line connects the two halves of the poem rather than standing alone.

Using this form, the poem draws attention to the similarity of the features at the top and bottom of the painting, while switching words around in the lines to create a reflective mirror effect.

The Poem

Humanity Amongst the Pillars of Creation

Sky blue, sky white, sky grey
blending living colours, on the tree canopy, with
branches reaching, as if preaching, in synchronicity with
human arms expanding upwards, requiring direction, for

heads talking in darkness, as if awaiting collection, for

bodies blending into planet, resembling tree-trunks, with
dresses flowing, as if rooting, communicating with earth
twisting life forms, on the forest ground, with
Earth grey, earth white, earth blue

The Painting

William Blake Interpreting the Divine Comedy
William Blake Interpreting the Divine Comedy

Copied from the Tate Gallery.

Princess of the Night Poem

A break in the art interpretation series today, as just received a new Folding Mirror poem by a poet who arrived via the NaiSaiKu Challenge site.

Thanks to Zoya Gautam for creating and sharing the clever and beautiful poem, and I hope Zoya writes more Folding Mirrors in the near future.

Zoya has many other mirror poems on site; the address and a link is at the bottom of the post.



‘ priestess ‘

cloistered priestess of the night
embracing darkness
in the scent of her silence
rajanigandha ..


twaicoo / original /©z.g. ..

[rajanigandha~Tuberose bulbs-growing white flowers with a night time fragrance]
zoya gautam also contains more info on ‘ twaicoo ‘

Poetic Interpretation of John Constable’s Stonehenge Art

Thanks to the Norfolk poets for their three poems this week, and there will be more from them in a little while. Also, thanks to Sarah James, who reviewed today’s poem and offered her advice on its improvement (only one word needed changing, mind!)

For the rest of this week the site will be finishing off the Romantic art interpretations with five more poems for five paintings by the same five artists as appeared in the first half of the series.

John Constable and Stonehenge

Explanation and Structure

We start today with John Constable’s Stonehenge, which impressively captures the haunting spirituality of the location.

The poem tries to join in with the timeless contemplation portrayed in the image.

The poem is a simple but accurate mirror, with a line-word structure of
5-7-5-6-5-7-5. The line length and punctuation also mirror pretty well.

I used an article on stones to find out their names.

Hope you enjoy it, and its quite timely what with the longest day only weeks away. Cheers!

The Poem

Stonehenge de Constable

Barren fields, hills of life…
giving fallen Station stones and Aubrey holes
people who sit and ponder
Sarsen trilithon: three stones standing proud
through time wind and rain
how magical Blue stones and Horseshoe setting
Bring stories, of past ages…

The Painting

Stonehenge by Constable

Copied from the British Museum website.