Marc Latham’s latest Folding Mirror poem combines a couple of ideas that could have been separate haikus into a Folding Mirror poem, with a linking middle. Don’t know if it works!
It is not a suicide poem, it’s a survival one. And here it is:
Summer’s Sunset Soliloquy
suicide by sunshine
squeezing sunlight serotonin stipend
risks your sinking
Today we have a lovely nature folding mirror poem by Jean Knill, who has her own blog and also blogs at Writelink. The poem is very apt after a sunny early spring morning. Here’s Jean’s account of how the poem came to life:
My inspiration for this poem started when I opened the curtains on the French window and sat down at the table next to it to have breakfast. It was just getting light. The trees in next door’s garden were dark against the sky, and we could make out some little birds on the high branches. Later, sitting on top of a double decker bus driving through the Dorset countryside, I marvelled at the colours of the trees and other vegetation we were passing when the sun came out from behind the clouds.
I wanted to write a folding mirror poem, but some of the words that came to mind were quite lengthy and I couldn’t mirror them in the right place in the other half of the verse. They were going to make the poem seem lopsided. So I decided to count syllables instead, as I do when I write haiku. This poem was the result.
The syllable count is: 5-9-7-5-9-7 (4) 7-9-5-7-9-5
Thanks for explaining the poem Jean, and also for creating and sharing it…and the syllables lesson too.
In early morning
leafless black branches are silhouettes
against the lightening sky.
Small winged acrobats
swing among the flimsy topmost stems
before flying off en masse.
Here comes the sun,
flames the sky with orange streaks,
climbing higher, turning trees into
Gold, copper and lime emerge
from dull grey bark until a cloud shroud
melts them off again.
This is a revised version of Some Clouds Have a Silver Lining, turning it from horizontal to vertical.
Marc Latham has written an article about the Folding Mirror form for the Suite 101 Poetry Section.
The article provides an overview of the poetry form, as well as detailing some of the publishing successes for Folding Mirror poems.
Poems and poetry on this site.
1. Stoned Free Marc Latham
2. Long way from the Equator Marc Latham
3. Mountain Mirror: Ascent and Descent Marc Latham
4. Football Ground Mirror Marc Latham
6. Valley Reflections Marc Latham
7. Moody Blues Marc Latham
8. Barley flowing in Summer Winds Marc Latham
9. On the half-way line Marc Latham
10. Through the Kitchen Window Sarah James
11. Cloudy Sunset Marc Latham
12. Fireworks Sarah James
13. Twister, Twister, Eye of the Storm Marc Latham
14. Football Career Mirror Colours Marc Latham
15. Colours Marc Latham
16. From Morar to Monte Carlo Marc Latham
17. One Season: Two Halves Marc Latham
18. Bookworms Sarah James
19. Dicing With Death Marc Latham
20. Thalatta, Thalatta (The Sea, The Sea) Caroline Gill
21. A Tree in Summer and Autumn Marc Latham
22. My Haiku Diary Jean Knill
23. The Nursery Jean Knill
24. Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows Marc Latham
25. Blake’s River Border Country Marc Latham
26. Enclosed in Wood on the Sunset Horizon Marc Latham
27. Nature and Society: Thomas Girtin’s Kirkstall Abbey Marc Latham
28. An Autumn Sunset in Chichester Marc Latham
29. Mistress Clover Sarah James
30. On Tour Wendy Webb
31. Stendhalismo Norman Bissett
32. Daybreak Claire Knight
33. Stonehenge de Constable Marc Latham
34. Priestess Zoya Gautam
35. Humanity Amongst the Pillars of Creation Marc Latham
36. Greenygrey Gypsy Camp Marc Latham
37. Gatekeeper of Light: Girtin’s Bamburgh Castle Marc Latham
38. That’s All We Need! Marc Latham
39. Seeing Stars at Sunset Caroline Gill
40. Cloud Carpet and Ceiling Marc Latham
41. Summer Garden Claire Knight
42. The Grand Old Duke of York Norman Bissett
43. Grandson’s Gift Claire Knight
44. To Heaven or Hell Marc Latham
45. Cross Channel Norman Bissett
46. Planet of the Rings Marc Latham
47. Constitutional Crisis Wendy Webb
48. Stereotypical Werewolf Transformation Marc Latham
49. Peesie Norman Bissett
50. Of Man and Wolf Marc Latham
51. Equinox: Day and Night Share Evenly Twice a Year Marc Latham
52. Some Clouds Have a Golden Lining: Vertical Version Marc Latham
53. Some Clouds Have a Golden Lining: Horizontal Version Marc Latham
54. Surface Trilogy 1: the Physical Marc Latham
55. Surface Trilogy 2: Human Image and Self Marc Latham
56. Surface Trilogy 3: The Mind, Imagination and Myth Creation Marc Latham
57. Fistful of Dollars Marc Latham
58. Haircut in a Mirror? Marc Latham
59. Confusion Janet Jarrell
60. My Name is Nobody Marc Latham
61. Hiking Hadrian’s Wall in August Marc Latham
62. Summer Evening Sky Show Marc Latham
63. Self-portrait in a Wet Summer Day Marc Latham
64. I’m With You Janet Jarrell
65. A Writer/Poet’s Life Marc Latham
66. Resistance is Futile: Foundations of Independence Marc Latham
67. Truth is Enough for Existence Marc Latham
68. Leeds City Towpath Treasures Marc Latham
69. Caved Sarah James
70. String Theory Marc Latham
71. Railway Line Division Vision Marc Latham
72. Crossing the Rubicon Marc Latham
73. Yet Through the Pain Marc Latham
74. Humanity is the Filter of the World Marc Latham
75. Keeping it Clean: Humanity, Environment and Earth Marc Latham
76. Prince Philip Walks a Fine Line Marc Latham
77. New Year 2010 Poem Marc Latham
78. Snowcatcher: Cradler of Cosmic Latte Marc Latham
79. Divided Earth Marc Latham
80. Chaos and Order Within the Universe Marc Latham
81. Housebound Claire Knight
82. The Reverse Werewolf Transformation Marc Latham
83. Hourglass of Time Claire Knight
84. How’s That for a Mexican Hat? Marc Latham
85. Norma’s White Dwarf Colour Composer Marc Latham
86. Space from Singularity Expanding Universe Marc Latham
87. Cosmic Jellyfish of the Hourglass Nebula Claire Knight
88. Our Land and Wonderland Above and Below the Rabbit Hole Marc Latham
89. Valentine’s Day Rose Claire Knight
90. Muse Scattered Seeds for Poets to Harvest Marc Latham
91. Lakeside Cairns – Nepal Claire Knight
92. Wonders of the South Park Solar System Marc Latham
93. Easter Nonsense Marc Latham
94. Hopes Rise With the Sun Marc Latham
95. The Skull of Eyjafjallajokull Marc Latham
96. PUNTA DELLA DOGANA Wendy Webb
97. Hazy Horizon Optical Illusion Marc Latham
98. Jet Landing Through Cloud Marc Latham
99. Music of Silence Vinay ‘Leo’ Ravindranath
100. British Electorate Reunite Long Lost Political Twins Marc Latham
101. Gold and Paper Compared Marc Latham
102. Alphabetica Mirroretica Marc Latham
103. Immersion Meeting Mirror Marc Latham
104. A Knight of Passion Claire Knight
105. The Universe in a Planck Marc Latham
106. Event Horizon Marc Latham
107. I Mirror, Therefore I Zebra Marc Latham
108. Chameleon Mix and Match Conundrum Marc Latham
109. Ant Theory – according to Marc Latham Claire Knight
110. Islands of the Sky and Sea Marc Latham
112. Inside Out Marc Latham
113. Reflecting on Reality, the Reality of Reflections Marc Latham
114. Cloverfield Central Marc Latham
115. The Devil Rides Out…Of You! Marc Latham
116. PEACE DAY POEM Marc Latham
117. Backward Static Messages Marc Latham
118. Libran Scales Marc Latham
119. Time Stands Still Marc Latham
122. All Cooper Marc Latham
123. Samhaim to Halloween Marc Latham
124. Vera, Pink Floyd, Doris Marc Latham
125. The Whistle Cried Heavy Marc Latham
126. Remembrance Day Poem Marc Latham
127. Reflecting on Poems of your Future Marc Latham
128. Through the Looking Glass Marian O’Brien Paul, Ph. D.
129. Slipping De Jackson
130. Wizardry Mike Bayles
131. Dawn Cinderellas Pink Candy Dance Marc Latham
132. Palindrome, I De Jackson
133. Winter Cycle Claire Knight
134. The God PiL Marc Latham
135. A Winter’s First Light Claire Knight
137. SOS Denise Margaret Hargrave
138. Two Days When My Cultural Worlds Collided Marc Latham
139. time to wonder Sarah James
140. ROY G BIV: Reflecting on Rainbows Marc Latham
141. The Photo Album Sarah James
142. MECHOGI ANDROS (Magi, Echotain, Andropian combined) Wendy Webb
143. Twist and Shake the Snake Marc Latham
144. The Diamond Mermaid Marc Latham
145. Nature’s Kaleidoscope Jean Knill
146. cinders Zoya Gautam
147. I Am What You See Marc Latham
148. Koala(ity) on a Eucalyptus Tree at Sunset Marc Latham
149. For God’s Sake Marc Latham
150. Life Reality and Media Publicity Marc Latham
151. Middle-Age Memories Marc Latham
152. Ring a Ding Ding, it’s Spring Marc Latham
153. Earth Hour Marc Latham
154. Space Brain Becoming Plain Marc Latham
155. Simplicate, Implicate, Complicate Marc Latham
156. Greenygrey Sandwich Marc Latham
157. Surreal Water Wheel Marc Latham
158. The Futility of Life and Death Marc Latham
159. Driving Through the Desert Marc Latham
160. Human and Society Chicken and Egg Dilemma Oddly Solved Marc Latham
161. Mine Bipolar Mind Marc Latham
162. Climbing Over the Hill Marc Latham
163. What’s Your Work Worth? Marc Latham
164. Spring into Life Marc Latham
165. Diffraction Delivers Sensory Satisfaction Marc Latham
166. See Below Sea Marc Latham
167. Turning Around OCD Marc Latham
168. Denied D9 Marc Latham
169. Dark Knight Fights Against Joker’s Delights Marc Latham
170. Following the Last Light Marc Latham
171. Art of Humanity Marc Latham
172. Status Haters Marc Latham
173. Distraction in Spin Action Marc Latham
174. Too Many Gods Spoil the Earth Marc Latham
175. When the Muse has no Consideration Marc Latham
176. Summer’s Sunset Soliloquy Marc Latham
177. Hope for Humanity or Full Speed to Calamity? Marc Latham
178. My God, An Insect Marc Latham
179. When Earth and Sky are as One Marc Latham
180. Times of Dry Marc Latham
181. Future to the Back Marc Latham
182. Autumn Air Spins Summer Samaras to Equinox Earth Marc Latham
183. Untitled KJP Garcia
184. Untitled KJP Garcia
185. Untitled KJP Garcia
186. Untitled KJP Garcia
187. Flight of Imagination Returns to Memory Destination Marc Latham
188. Untitled KJP Garcia
189. Between City and Sky, Let Your Mind Fly Marc Latham
190. Between Times of Fantasy Marc Latham
191. Eagle Down Marc Latham
192. Falling Autumn Gold Marc Latham
193. Embracing Sea at Midnight Marc Latham
194. Not Love, Gnat Empathy Marc Latham
195. Surfing Sea Psyche Marc Latham
196. Contented Living, Contents of Dreaming Marc Latham
198. Dying to Live, Living to Die Marc Latham
199. Changing of the Guard Marc Latham
200. Natural Disasters Marc Latham
202. Multitasking Medley Marc Latham
203. Werewolf of Oz: Molly Mook Marc Latham
204. Valentine Night Sky Marc Latham
205. Inner Strength, Mental Health Marc Latham
206. News of World – Sky – Sun on Sunday Marc Latham
207. Constellations of the North and South Marc Latham
208. Shadowless Seconds on Earth’s Equator Marc Latham
209. Y Green and Grey Go Together Marc Latham
211. As each second of the present passes… Marc Latham
212. Sacrifice and Celebration ML
213. Living in the Middle-Ages ML
215. Breathing Works Both Ways ML
216. Night is a Part of Day ML
217. Orbital Perceptions ML
218. Life has More Meaning than Death ML
219. Tale of the Weakness Tail ML
220. On the Surface of it, Ants… ML
221. Blue Skies, Delta Blues ML
223. Basket Case ML
224. Shamanism and Science ML
225. Search and Destroy ML
226. Last Birthday, First Life ML
229. October 16th, 2012 ML
230. Poems of the Prose ML
231. Halloween Howls Samhain Sighs ML
233. On the River Dart ML
237. Bath Time Talk Back ML
239. Mid-Winter Rainbow’s Pot of Gold ML
242. Waning Winter, Sensing Spring ML
244. Fog and Smog, Sun lights Fame ML
245. Lost in Care, Ignore the Repair ML
247. Abundant Life, Lives Absolutely ML
248. Water Landscape, Mountain Canvas ML
252. Canopy Climb, View Sublime ML
257. Dingo Lingo ML
258. Gaia’s Gravity, Alien Attraction ML
268. Completing Cycle, Living Life ML
269. Drown Song, Sun Dry ML
276. Winding Between, Two Roads ML
286. Before Burns, Brudenell Boys ML
288. Suffragette Maud, Made Suffering ML
291. Circular Diamond, Dimension Zero ML
305. October Retreat, Fate Complete ML
I’m very happy to present to you a new Sarah James folding mirror poem (Fireworks) and explanation (Inspired) of its creation.
Like the form itself, the poem was inspired by the haiku, and developed into a folding mirror, with the two halves of the poem nicely divided in the descriptions of emotion and practice by a folding middle line: unless now and then
The structure mirrors either side of the fold without the words in the opposite line always replicating.
Thanks to Sarah, and I hope you all enjoy it.
Influences and inspiration can be subtle. This year I have been taking part in Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides’ Poem a Day for April (poetry month). I have also been trying to keep a haiku diary, as well as reading and contributing to the folding mirror blog. Of course, they all have one obvious thing in common – poetry. But it was only when the poem a day theme happened to be ‘routine’ that the three subconsciously converged in my poem Fireworks.
What started as a haiku thought wouldn’t quite fit to tight conciseness of the form. Words and ideas pushed the boundaries and I slipped, almost without realising it, into Marc’s folding mirror form (probably subconsciously influenced by his posts describing his original syllabic, haiku inspiration).
The mirror line is the turning point in a poem about the need sometimes to free oneself in life and poetry from routine and traditional established forms. That the poem should break out of one form (haiku) to end up in a different form (folding mirror) adds irony. When does breaking free of one routine or tradition become another routine or tradition?
Routine rhythms life
but meaning sometimes slips, lost
between the stresses.
Or it tumbles out of line,
unless now and then
you help set it free and let
creation explode –
like this poem sparks and bursts
from haiku routine.
There is another early folding mirror below, and this one starts and ends on the floor under a mountain, with the folding middle line the summit.
The top half of the poem is the climb up, the ascent, while the bottom half is the walk down, the descent.
The poem evokes images of mountain peaks, the scenery that makes it all worthwhile, and the feelings of awe and anticipation at arrival and achievement and sorrow afterwards.
Between the two emotions is the peak.
Many of the lines feature the same words in each line on both sides, while some lines switch the words around within the line.
An example of the latter is how ‘lime and tan replaced by ebony and ivory’ on the way up the mountain in the first half of the poem is reversed on the way down in the second half of the poem.
Get on your hiking gear, watch your footing, and please enjoy the climb!
Mountain Mirror: Ascent and Descent
On terra firma, gazing to the skies.
a mountain of majesty, standing so proud.
Ascending, the narrow path leaves little room.
Onwards and upwards, we see the valley disappear below,
lime and tan replaced by ebony and ivory.
Through clouds, ice and snow we climb.
As it steepens, sheer cliffs we navigate;
the peak is within a stone’s throw.
On the summit; freezing but ecstatic, on top of the world.
We leave the peak with reluctant hearts;
with careful steps, sheer cliffs we navigate.
Through clouds, ice and snow we climb;
ebony and ivory replaced by lime and tan.
Onwards and downwards, we see the summit disappear above,
Descending, the narrow path leaves little room.
A mountain of majesty, standing so proud,
On terra-firma, gazing to the skies.
After the serious topic of the first folding mirror the next few mixed nature, football and comedy as their subjects, and the one featured below managed to combine two of the three.
The poem uses the equator as the folding middle line, and mirrors the north (top half) and south (bottom half) poles.
Structurally, the poem succeeds in mirroring the word count and metre of the lines in each half, but the punctuation doesn’t mirror.
With the words, watch how gloom and room switch between the outer and next to outer lines in the two halves of the poem.
Both halves contain references to the cold and solitude in the poles, but the life form chosen for the top half is more humouros and the bottom half more tragic.
Long way from the Equator
Mountains of ice, winter gloom.
Not many people, plenty of room.
get plenty of stares
Long way from the Equator
Scott and Oates lost
Humans are rare, plenty of gloom,
Icebergs of doom, winter room.
The folding mirror poetry can be as simple or complex as you want to make it.
Take the haiku form, which was the main inspiration for the folding mirror.
Haiku works on a five seven five syllable format, so that’s:
syllable syllable syllable syllable syllable
syllable syllable syllable syllable syllable syllable syllable
syllable syllable syllable syllable syllable
Over the centuries and many miles of travelling the haiku form has been experimented with and adapted, and the same has already happened with the folding mirror form.
Haiku Inspires Folding Mirror
When I first thought of the folding mirror I just thought that the structure of two halves of poetry should mirror each other either side of a folding middle line.
For example, in the structure below, the lines on the outside have three words, the middle lines have two words and the lines nearest to the folding mirror line have four words:
word word word
word word word word
folding mirror line
word word word word
word word word
The Development of Folding Mirror
However, when Writelink ran a folding mirror competition some poets interpreted the form more strictly, with even the words mirroring each other in the two halves, while others tried a looser form, with the two sides not even mirroring each other structurally.
It was great to see the form developing so quickly, and also how it inspired lots of great ideas and poetry.
Recent Experimentation and Inspiration
Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the folding line, and how it can either stand alone, link the two halves, end the first half of the poem or begin the second half.
It has also inspired me to read and interpret ten Romantic paintings in a way that I wouldn’t have done without the form.
So hopefully there is a lot of use for the folding mirror form, and it will inspire poets to pen innovative poetry for years to come.