Tag Archives: Palindrome

Folding Mirror Poetry Article

Back in 2010 I wrote an article for Suite 101 on types of Folding Mirror poems. That article is now available to publish here, and is posted below. Hopefully it might inspire you to write one?

Poetry Research Offers Clues to How Forms Evolve

The Folding Mirror poetry form calls for two halves of a poem to mirror each other either side of a folding middle line. The Palindrome form had previously called for two halves of a poem to mirror each other, but there was no middle line to link them; instead, there was a gap between the two mirroring halves. Since the fmpoetry website was set up there have been over seventy Folding Mirror poems published on the site. After a prompt from Caroline Gill, research was undertaken into how the middle line has been used in this new form: to identify whether poets isolated the middle lines or used them to link the two halves of the poem.

Did the Folding Middle Line Stand Alone or Link the Two Halves of Poetry?

Analysis of the seventy-six Folding Mirror poems on the fmpoetrywebsite at the time of the research found that:

  • fifty-one had the middle line dividing the two halves of the poem
  • twenty-five used the middle line to link the two halves.

The Stand Alone Folding Middle Line Poems

An example of a middle line standing alone is found in Sarah James’s Caved poem. The last line of the top half of the poem ends in a full stop, the middle line stands alone and the first line of the bottom half of the poem starts with a capital letter:

night, keep my wings hidden.

Unhinged by symmetry or hinged by unsymmetry…

My flightless wings hide me.

Another example is found in the centre of Norman Bissett’s The Grand Old Duke Of York poem:

are ours in abundance.

With the passing years, spirits droop, limbs become leaden.

Weighed down by an excess

The Linking Middle Line Poems

Of the twenty-five middle lines that linked the two halves of the poems, eighteen were full links between the top half and the bottom.

An example of this is the middle of Zoya Gautam’s Priestess poem:

cloistered priestess of the night

embracing darkness

in the scent of her silence

Of the other seven poems, three had the top half of the poem linking with the middle line and a full stop at its end, before the bottom half of the poem starts anew. An example of this is Wendy Webb’sConstitutional Crisis poem:

Martyr him in column ink, for it is better that

one should be sacrificed for the people.

Martyr him in column ink, for it is better than;

Four poems had the top half of the poem ending with a full stop just before the middle line, and then the folding middle line starting the second half of the poem. An example of this is Claire Knight’s Summer Garden poem:

as light breeze dances.

Fragrant blooms of roses scent the warm day

as light breeze dances,


About two-thirds of the Folding Mirror poems had the middle folding line of the poem as a stand alone, while about one-third had the folding middle line linking the two halves in some way. The results of the research will hopefully give inspiration to poets interested in the form, and more Folding Mirror poems will be created.Image

Poem about Life Reality between Dreams and Folklore

lock 30
Image by MissMessie via Flickr
Marc Latham’s latest Folding Mirror poem resides in the greenygrey area between fantasy and reality; our place in it and others’ perceptions of our place in it.
Before we are born we may be the fantasies of our parents, and after we die our lives and images may become the fantasies of those who shared our lives and the descendents who never meet us.
Even in life, much of our lives are a fantasy to most people; who only know a little about our reality, and may make up the rest themselves.
And to yourself, the ‘real’ world can seem like a fantasy, where you don’t feel you have any control over your life and environment.  What is hidden beyond bureaucracy, walls and horizons is imagined by the mind.
Here’s the poem:
Between Times of Fantasy 
In your mother’s dreams and belly
babyhood being smelly.
Unremembered times of laughter
burping after each eating disaster.
Your experiences learned
in photos and tales.
Reality within dreams and memories
Your story pieced together
jumbled jigsaw dialogue.
School tomfoolery and work folklore
friends recall once more.
You’re not present
to witness descendents create your epitaph.

Poem Plays with Words and Pays World

Disparities Solution Center Anniversary Event
Image by Office of Governor Patrick via Flickr
Marc Latham’s latest Folding Mirror poem has a social conscience.  Although its message is not new, it tries for originality with its use of words and rhyming.
The top half of the poem has a double rhyming of ‘ity’ words on the top half, and the bottom half has a double rhyming of ‘ion’ words.
Does that make sense?  Please check it out for yourself:
Simplicate, Implicate, Complicate
Homo-sapiens became the height of clarity and hilarity
knowledge of sanity at backend of insanity
yet impoverished humanity can’t break parity from disparity
human is in the middle of inhumanity
media show images of construction coming before destruction
leaders use rigged elections or God’s intervention
justifying wars and excusing pollution is our evolution

Poem Inspired by Photos of Dawn on a Snowy Day

Today we have an epic palindromic Folding Mirror poem by regular FM poet, Claire Knight, that was inspired by scenic seasonal photos taken and shared by another poet that has also graced this site with words, Sarah James. 

Thanks to Claire and Sarah for creating and sharing the images and interpretations, and I hope you enjoy viewing and reading them.  

Sarah James Winter Scenery
A Winter’s First Light

first light of day
breathes gently across
the laden skies of winter,
a duvet of swans’ down clouds,
masking a sun-rich blue void beyond.
Poles and pylons rise towards the heavens,
reflected pink hues dance light,
a veil of stillness descends:
as above so below

silent wires cross the expanse of silence

a universe at one:
a veil of stillness lingers,
reflected pink light dances hues,
poles and pylons rise from the earth.
Masking a life-rich black land beneath,
a blanket of pure crystal snow.
The hidden furrows of winter –
breath chilly across
frost glinting by day.

Sarah James Poetic Imagery

Palindrome Poem Mirrors by Line: De Jackson

goose bento 2
Image by Sakurako Kitsa via Flickr

Today we’ve got a fun and clever palindrome poem from De Jackson, with the letters mirroring from side to side on each line.

Thanks to De for creating and sharing the poem, and please drop by her whimsygizmo website.  Have a great weekend!

Palindrome, I
live not on evil.
name now one man.
must sell at tallest sum.
a Toyota
evil olive
drab band
never odd or even
murder for a jar of red rum.
Are we not drawn onward to new era?
don’t nod.
Do geese see God?

Finding Future for Folding Mirror with Caroline Gill

Palindrome of DNA structure 1.Palindrome 2.Loo...
Image via Wikipedia

Today we have the erudite Caroline Gill on the Folding Mirror form’s place within palindrome poetry.

Thanks to Caroline for giving her time to set out a great case for the survival and continuation of the form.

The Palindrome Poem and Folding Mirror Poetry ~ some introductory thoughts from Caroline Gill

Robert Lee Brewer posted a fascinating feature about Palindrome Poetry on his Poetic Asides blog (18 Nov. 2010). It seems, therefore, a good time to begin to define the difference between the Palindrome Poem (a type that has been around for a long time, although it took a while for this poetry to be labelled as palindromic, in any definitive sense of the word) and its newer cousin, Folding Mirror Poetry (FMP), devised by Dr Marc Latham. It is worth pointing out before we proceed that there have been various forms created, based around the palindromic idea. A favourite recent one is the Palindromedary Sonnet, developed by Wendy Webb, which has two halves but no central folding line.

There are essential differences between Palindrome poems and FMP, but there are also overlapping elements. I suspect that Dr Marc Latham is moving towards his own definitive explanation; but meanwhile, I offer a few thoughts of my own:

The Folding Mirror form has, as I understand, a central ‘folding’ line as its key feature. This sometimes equates with the horizon (in both an actual and metaphorical sense in some poems); and unlike the Palindrome poem as defined by Brewer, the FM poem is not restricted to a single ‘bridge’ word at the hinge point.
The words above and below the central folding line in FM poems will often mirror their counterparts to one degree or another. I find it helpful to speak in picture-language, and to consider a pool, when I think about this poetic concept. Sometimes, when the water is perfectly still, the image and its reflection are (to all intents and purposes) a perfect mirror image. Sometimes, when the water is very disturbed, the image and its reflection bear little resemblance to one another. Sometimes, when there is a slight ripple, there is a definite, though incomplete, resemblance between the image and its reflection. There are also times when the surface of a pool is so dense (perhaps due to ice, oil pollution or algae etc.) that although there is some kind of matter – or void – below the surface, it may appear to bear no resemblance to what lies above.
Therefore in FMP, the words below and above the line will not always mirror their counterparts specifically, because some reflections are more subtle than others. There are also occasions when the poem concerns a subject with two halves, but with totally different halves e.g. a horizon middle line could be used to separate a top half about an empty sky and a lower half about  e.g. lions in the jungle below. A FM poem about a tooth and its root would be about the tooth that was visible and the (unidentical) root that was not, but was ever present all the same. Ditto the seen and unseen halves of an iceberg.
Sometimes a FM poem involves diagonal opposites.
Sometimes words repeat themselves exactly in FMP – like images in a clear pool. Please note that the type face in FMP is usually – but not always – the same way up on both sides of the central folding line, due to practicalities of presentation and ease of reading.
Sometimes words in one half of FMP are mirrored by their opposites, producing e.g. a Dalmatian effect on one side – black on white – and an inverted or domino effect – white on black – on the other.
Sometimes the central folding line (which may not always be horizontal) will separate (for example) the part of the FM poem about sheep from the part about goats, in a poem in which these creatures are linked through symbolic meaning. Sometimes, however, the central folding line will separate (for example) the part of the FM poem about sheep from the part about cows, for the simple reason that (in this instance) the two species graze in adjacent fields, divided by a hedge or wall. 
There are many variations of FMP, as I understand, and as I hope I am beginning to demonstrate.
Palindrome poetry features ‘the same words … in each half of the poem’ (Robert Lee Brewer – link below). FMP does not necessarily do this, as has been demonstrated from the points above. FMP is based on a broader structural concept; and while a FM poem may include the same words on both sides of the line, it equally may not, relying instead (or in addition) on some of the scenarios I mention above.
Sometimes FMP is more about the mirroring of concepts or ideas or about the presentation of opposites than about the mirroring of actual words, but a strong central folding line is always essential to the structural success of FMP.

Further reading:
For more on Palindromic Poetry, please follow the link to Robert Lee Brewer’s site.

Sumptuous Slipping Palindrome Poem by De Jackson

10pm snow (flash)
Image by sprockrs via Flickr

Today we have a poignant and powerful palindrome poem by De Jackson, who blogs from the whimsygizmo site.

It first appeared on the Robert Lee Brewer Poetic Asides site.

Thanks to De for creating and sharing the poem.




as you could,
heart in hand.
See, I could
Could I see,
hand in heart?
Could you? As