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The Monday Poem > Mirror by Sylvia Plath (02/09/2013)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful ‚
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish


message 2: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments An interesting poem. A reflection on the mirror and the passing of time.


message 3: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments I like this! Especially the opening lines. Thanks for sharing this Heather!


message 4: by Shirley (last edited Sep 02, 2013 12:54AM) (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments I love this, Heather, I have never come across this poem before, but I really like it - very clever!

And a great start to the Monday Poem!


message 5: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments I just read this poem three times. Twice when I was still on the bus on my way home, resulting in an almost missed bus stop and once just now, at home. I have never come across this poem before (to be honest for some reason I have hardly read any of Sylvia Plath's poetry) but I adore this one.

I love how in this poem the mirror almost becomes an organism by itself, feeding of the life of those that are looking for their reflection. The second stanza in particular I found extremely beautiful and touching. The last two lines gave me shivers. This poem leaves me slightly...unsettled, in lack of a better word.


message 6: by Helen (new)

Helen | 47 comments This is an interesting idea, beautifully crafted. Another poet might delight in the life experiences reflected in a face as we age, unfortunately for Plath she sees only a 'a terrible fish'.


message 7: by Helen (new)

Helen | 47 comments Perhaps a warning about attaching too much importance to outward appearance?


message 8: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11717 comments Mod
Helen wrote: "Perhaps a warning about attaching too much importance to outward appearance?"

That's what I got from reading the poem too. A great start to the Monday poem Heather. I have never read Plath's poetry before.


message 9: by Anastasia (last edited Sep 02, 2013 04:09AM) (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments I agree with all the sensations expressed by Jenny. I've never read anything by Sylvia Plath too and this poem impressed me. This part is particulary tender:

"Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over. "

The idea of a mirror and his opposite wall that never touch each other, feeling affection and sense of a suffering distance is touching.


message 10: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Alannah wrote: "Helen wrote: "Perhaps a warning about attaching too much importance to outward appearance?"

That's what I got from reading the poem too. A great start to the Monday poem Heather. I have never read..."


One reason I liked the opening lines is that I could see in my mind a middle-aged vain woman blaming the mirror for her wrinkles or sagging skin & this was the mirror's response.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm glad everybody has enjoyed reading the poem. I too had never read anything by Plath but I was browsing poemhunter.com for inspiration for the Monday poem when I came across this. I just fell in love with the imagery, the depth of feeing in the simple words and the amount of emotion in such a short poem.

For me the poem is about the passage of time. The mirror's owner is ageing and struggling to cope with her changing appearance. I love the end lines "In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish".

I also love the first few lines.

The more I read this, the more I love it


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Plath is definitely going on to my 2014 poetry list!


message 13: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Maybe a candidate for a poetry group read? ;)


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I think they would be great for raising discussion points


message 15: by Laurel (new)

Laurel | 283 comments Thanks Heather - this is a great poem! I especially liked the last 2 lines as well.


message 16: by Claire (new)

Claire (bookworm_29) Brought back memories of reading Plath as a teenager, but not sure I read this poem them. Was particularly moved by 'now I am a lake...'


message 17: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13217 comments Mod
Awsom poem Heather!


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