Surface Poem Trilogy 2: Human Image and Self

Today we have the second part of Marc Latham’s Surface. Please see the first part of the poetry trilogy for an explanation to the series.

Marc has made a slight adjustment to the first poem in the trilogy after viewing it on this site: there were two uses of the word ‘under’ in the bottom half of the poem, and the second has now been changed to ‘below’. A benefit of putting the poetry up on site!

Surface 2: Poem Explanation

This poem turned into a bit of an epic, and I probably have people who have pushed the boundaries of the form before to thank for that, like Sarah, Caroline and Wendy.

At first it was just meant to be the top half, with the surface line as the folding middle line, but then I thought that it works both ways, so I doubled it to include the bottom half, and made a new folding middle line: that image and self work both ways. I think this makes a good reflection, but hadn’t thought about it that way until I’d completed the top half.

I believe that almost everybody has an inner self that is different to their image, or inner selves that are different to their images; whether they keep their self hidden consciously or unconsciously, and out of choice or necessity.

I’m not trying to expose anything, and don’t think it’s anything really groundbreaking; it’s mostly based on information that’s out there already, together with a lifetime of experiences.

Hopefully it makes a good and interesting Folding Mirror poem.

Poem Structure

Bloody hell, where do I start!

No, it’s quite simple really, with both halves of the poem mirroring themselves, and the poem as a whole mirroring.

Both halves have a sequence of:

3-3-3-3-3-1 (7) 1-3-3-3-3-3

either side of the six words folding middle line of ‘Image and Self work both ways’.

The punctuation also mirrors, but it isn’t really grammatical anyway.

The Poem

Surface 2: Human Image and Self

My image is

calm and collected
humble and polite
social and warm
apolitical and irreligious


the surface; scratch, scratch below the surface


opinionated and argumentative
reclusive and cold
vain and rude
angry and dejected

The inner self

Image and Self work both ways

My image is

gruff and hard
resolute and robust
dynamic and ruthless
independent and miserly


the surface; scratch, scratch below the surface


social and philanthropic
relaxed and compassionate
flexible and vulnerable
soft and temperate

The Inner Self

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