Category Archives: Social

Poems about family and society.

Jean Knill and Folding Mirror

Yesterday, Jean Knill (who blogs at Blogspot and Writelink) provided the reasons why she loves haiku and an example of her daily haiku diary.

Today, I feature an extract from an email conversation I had with Jean in the early stages of the Folding Mirror form.

Jean has also kindly allowed this site to use a neat Folding Mirror poem she created for a Writelink competition last year.

I think you can see the haiku influence in the Folding Mirror, and thanks again to Jean for publishing it here.

Jean’s thoughts on haiku and Folding Mirror

The similarity between haiku and the folding mirror concept is the syllable count. This is very constrained in a haiku, which in its pure form, is three lines of 5, 7, 5. so it is actually a form of folding mirror poem.

But my understanding suggests that there is more freedom in the folding mirror poem as the author selects the number of lines and the number of syllables in each line on the first side of the mirror. The poem can also be several stanzas if required. The constraint in the second half only relates to the author’s earlier decisions.

Neither is the author constrained as to subject matter, whereas the pure form of haiku should make some reference to nature and the seasons. (You’ll note therefore that the haiku in my diary are not always pure!)

Jean Knill’s The Nursery

How can
this room stay pink,
when all the medics say
this new baby will be a boy?
She has to find a way
to turn it blue
and right.



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…