Through the Looking Glass Mirror Poem

Alice stepping through the looking-glass
Image via Wikipedia

Today we have an innovative mirror poem by Marian O’Brien Paul, Ph. D.

Marian works from the A Place for Words: Poetry and Otherwise website.

The poem first appeared on Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides website.

Thanks to Marian for allowing it to be published here, and please enjoy.

Through the Looking Glass

Imagining I was Alice
inside mirror, room reversed
feeling disoriented, left on
right
on left, disoriented feeling,
reversed room, mirror inside.
Alice was I: imagining.

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New sun theme looks like a dream

It’s been quite a week here at fmpoetry, with the discovery that mirror poetry with a middle line has more of a history than thought.

Just before that, the theme had been changed to the sun above the horizon photo.

This photo captures the essence of the folding mirror brilliantly, with the horizon the biggest physical inspiration for Marc Latham’s poems in the form:

sky sunset

Gainsborough ekphrastic

Turner ekphrastic

Marc Latham’s Folding Mirror Invention Claim in Crisis!

Marc Latham thought he’d invented the Folding Mirror poetry form in 2007, but new evidence unearthed today in the planetary poetry pond suggests that a folding mirror style was around for a long time before that, although it was unnamed, and specified that the same words should be used in each half of the poem.  So it is slightly different to the form initiated/named by Latham, although it was much closer than Latham had been aware of. 

Robert Lee Brewer Provides Expert Poetry Knowledge

Latham always admitted he was a poetry novice when he thought up his first Folding Mirror poem, after being inspired by the haiku form.  Some poets with more experience and knowledge told him about the palindrome, but the examples Latham saw just had two blocks of text in two halves, so he thought the Folding Mirror was different.

But this morning he got a newsletter from Robert Lee Brewer with his palindrome (mirror) poem that uses a word in the middle to link the two halves.

Palindromes History on Deviant Art

Latham at first thought that this might have been inspired by his Folding Mirror poems, but when he searched palindrome poetry, he found a site with examples of three types of palindrome poetry from 2004, and it said that they were invented by Sotades in 3rd century BC Greece. One of the styles does use a linking word in the middle.

The Future for Folding Mirror Poetry

The big positive out of today’s revelations is a window to lots of great mirror poetry, and hopefully this will increase interest in the mirror form(s)…and this site…?

Remembering Remembrance and Questioning Relevance

Left to right: (back) Tim McInnerny: Stephen F...
Image via Wikipedia

Marc Latham had a services remembrance week here at the Folding Mirror poetry site last week, and debated with himself whether/how to do it before and during the week:

  • should he do one at all
  • was he using it for publicity
  • was it in good taste
  • would it be decoded as nationalistic/warmongering by some
  • or unworthy of a non-service person to write such poetry by others

Not feeling sorry for himself, Latham finds such things a bit of a dilemma, as when you become a working writer/poet, you have to try to find markets to make a living, and try to balance the creative/professional balance.

This of course opens writers who support a cause to criticism, and accusations that they are only using it for publicity and to further their career. 

Marc Latham is always aware of this, and although he does offer his opinions, and try to market his work, he always does it with words he believes in, and doesn’t use marketing strategies that he doesn’t think ethical or fair. 

In the current media climate it seems that having extreme opinions is the easiest way to get attention, but Marc Latham tries to keep to the ethics of the Greenygrey (sorry if that, and all this, seems a plug!), and look at everything from all points of view, and provide a balanced opinion, or a balance to what he thinks is missing or skewed in some debates.

Anyway, after writing his armistice poem, and reading it, and seeing the field of poppies gravatar he used last week, he was reminded of the last episode of Blackadder, which mixed images of the cast going over the top to their deaths with the fields of poppies that would later replace the mud and wire.

It hadn’t been a conscious influence at the time of creating the poem, but the juxtaposition of history and nature, myth and reality seemed very reminiscent afterwards.  So Marc Latham wrote this poem in reflection:

Reflecting on Poems of your Future

inspiration for creation
idea falls to life
new thoughts harvested
consume, digest, scatter 

poem of your future, reflections on the past

analyse, decode, remember
old images recalled
memories return to mind
unconscious reveals mystery

Armistice Day Poem

Marc Latham’s Armistice Day poem started off as a normal Folding Mirror poem, but then when he wrote peep goes the whistle in the middle it reminded him of the nursery rhyme pop goes the weasel.

After looking the nursery rhyme up he thought he would include parts of the rhyme (in black) to contrast fun peace time elements, like memories of civilian life, to the main horrors of war, in the present, poem (in red).  

The Whistle Cried Heavy

Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle.
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel.

waiting in the purgatory
of trench hospitality
dead dreams of peace
vermin, mud and disease
a date with destiny
is awaiting me

peep goes the whistle
Up and down the City road,
In and out the Eagle,
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel.
my comrades carry me

over the top
amongst the deadly crop
bullets, wire and metal
please god cry heckle
an enemy’s greeting
our hell’s garden meeting

All around the cobblers bench
the monkey chased the people;
The donkey thought ’twas all in fun,
pop goes the weasel.

Pop Goes the Weasel explanation and nursery rhyme.

For British soldiers, allies and the victims of war;
and in the not optimistic hope that one day soon there will be an end to war.

British Legion

Armistice Week Poem

Marc Latham’s latest Folding Mirror poem interprets the cover of the new Doris Brendel album, The Last Adventure. 

Without hearing the lyrics of the album, or reading any of Brendel’s explanations, the image reminded Marc of Pink Floyd‘s Vera song, so he interpeted it from that perspective within the Folding Mirror form.

Vera Lynn a Female Churchill

Vera Lynn was a heroine in World War Two, travelling to entertain troops around the world, despite the grave danger to herself.  She was perhaps the female Churchill, in terms of raising spirits and keeping the country motivated during the terrible times it was suffering.

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Personal Loss

However, Lynn’s song lyrics that We’ll Meet Again of course didn’t always come true, in mortality at least, and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters lost his father in the war.  So, he sang from the loss point of view on The Wall album.

In Afghanistan, British forces are now fighting their deadliest and most justifiable conflict since World War Two against Al-Quaeda and the Taliban.  Many service people have lost their lives trying to improve conditions for ordinary Afghan people, and at the same time defending Britain from further terrorist attacks.   

Whether their lives have been wasted, as so many British lives were in World War One, or if they will have made a difference, like in World War Two, ultimately depends on the politicians involved.

Armistice Day is this Thursday, November 11.  Remembrance Sunday is on November 14.

Poem Explanation

The folding middle line appears at the top of the poem, with the two halves below it in a timeline, which is another first for the Folding Mirror form.

Vera, Pink Floyd, Doris