Blog, Music, Poems, writing prompts

Mirror, Mirror (A Poetry Prompt)

32 Comments

Each month, we compile a musical playlist that corresponds with our monthly writing-prompt theme. It’s our hope that you find a little inspiration in the lyrical turns, the rhythms, the musical nuance.

This month’s poetic-prompt theme is “Mirror, Mirror.” In reviewing songs for this month’s theme, I noticed a brooding, dark undercurrent running through many of the songs. Could it be that mirrors, as functional as they may be, show us the things we’d rather not see? Could it be our feelings are mixed about objective reality?

The brooding tunes continue one after the next until we reach Justin Timberlake’s song, “Mirrors.” I hate to admit it, but although I’m a bit of a music snob, I like Timberlake’s grooves. (Please don’t tell anyone.) And of course, we end this month’s selection with that classic Michael Jackson ballad.

Listen to this month’s mirror musical collection here at Tweetspeak, and pen a poem or two using a mirror. Write about a compact makeup mirror, a hand-held mirror, or a full-length mirror. Use it as a metaphor for self-reflection, a prop in a narrative poem, or an omen of broken or bad luck. Write about how you feel when you look into the objective reality.

Whatever you do, though, let’s pen some poems here together. Remember, like Jon Foreman says, “please don’t leave me alone; a mirror’s so much harder to hold.”

Poetry Prompt: Plug in your headphones, listen to the Tweetpseak playlist, and write. What do the rhythms and lyrics conjure? What words come? Pen your Mirror, Mirror poem and share it with us in the comments below.

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Tweetspeak’s Mirror, Mirror Prompt:

This month we’re considering Mirror, Mirror,  and we’ll be composing poems around the theme. How do you participate?

1. Consider a mirror, whether a makeup mirror, a hand held mirror, or your rear-view mirror. Listen to our monthly prompt-themed playlist. What images, emotions, metaphors, or allegories do they conjure?

2. Compose your own poem around the theme.

3. Tweet your poems to us. Add a #TSMirror hashtag so we can find it and maybe share it with the world.

4. If you aren’t a Twitter user, or if you’d rather, leave your poem here in the comment box.

5. At the end of the month, we’ll choose a poem to feature in one of our upcoming Weekly Top 10 Poetic Picks.

Last month’s theme, “Swan, Swallow, Phoenix,” produced some good poetry. My favorite from last month was this one by Ianstuart titled, “Midges.”

Grains of life
flung high into the air-
so insubstantial
that they hover there.

Born by the sun
and carried through the day
in shafts of light
until marauding swallows
bring the night.

I love this poem particularly because I’m a man who’s a fan of both midges and swallows. The imagery here is strong and paints a vivid image of the waning daylight hours. Thanks for this piece, Ianstuart!

Do you want to have your work highlighted here at Tweetspeak? Join us this month as we explore the theme “Mirror, Mirror,” maybe we’ll highlight your poem in the coming months.

Photo by  TschiAe, Creative Commons via Flickr. Post by Seth Haines

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Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99 — Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In May we’re exploring the poetry theme Swan, Swallow, Phoenix.

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Your Comments

32 Comments so far

  1. Troy Cady says:

    I read this poetry prompt with interest because I just wrote a poem on Sunday the 2nd concerning a fogged mirror and see the prompt is dated June 3…The poem still needs work but I just thought I’d share it here anyway.

    Shaving
    a poem by Troy Cady

    Uncorrected eyes strain
    to see
    through the gripping
    fog, sticking
    closer to this glass
    than shore
    that wanes
    to sea
    that reigns.

    Why am I
    carried away
    with my
    self?

    A towel cannot
    wipe out
    the clouds.
    What I hold
    is weaker than
    what I cannot hold
    is all around,
    in front,
    confronting
    clarity.

    Carry me away
    for I can no sooner
    clean myself than
    claim my self.

    Facing this steamed
    gray mirror
    I will be a faceless name
    if you will guide my hand

    but speed the day
    when I shall be changed
    to a nameless face
    so I can be my undimmed self
    and you can name me
    as a newborn
    gasping from broken water

    • Donna says:

      So much here… I especially like this part:
      A towel cannot
      wipe out
      the clouds.
      What I hold
      is weaker than
      what I cannot hold
      is all around,
      in front,
      confronting
      clarity.

      Wow.

    • Seth says:

      Troy,

      I like this. And the coincidence? Crazy!
      Thanks for dropping in here and sharing it with us. I hope you’ll keep working out mirror poems this month! You’re on your way to a pretty good series.

  2. Mixed Feelings

    The saddest stuff
    needs no mirror,

    sees its own
    passage through

    a cavity of grief
    to come out unchanged

    on the other side.
    What stings long

    enough also lulls,
    like memory feinting

    a love that moves
    on after a last look

    back in cloudy glass.
    We hold up a collage

    of sorrow, every piece
    of glued-down paper

    bearing the one word
    - forgiveness -

    we’ll favor in the ritual
    aftermath of reflecting

    what pieces together
    so many mixed feelings

    we want to tender so
    tenderly to remember.

    • That second line should read:

      “needs no mirroring,”

      and the sixth should read:

      “to come out changed”.

      • Seth says:

        “We hold up a collage

        of sorrow, every piece
        of glued-down paper

        bearing the one word
        - forgiveness -”

        Whoa. If only you knew what I’ve been mulling lately. I think you must have crawled into my brain.

    • Donna says:

      Such words – how do you find them?

      Love this…

      “What stings long

      enough also lulls,
      like memory feinting

      a love that moves
      on after a last look

      back in cloudy glass.”

  3. HisFireFly says:

    This was written quite a long time ago, but suits the theme, so I’m sharing here –

    Road Map

    I’m not sure
    what to look for
    in the mirror anymore

    Once a mosaic
    of the stories
    only years can build
    history
    written in my eyes

    Now wiped clean
    by tears
    that flow
    with joy and wonder
    leaving a glow

    A mark of peace
    A seal of love

    Let my face serve
    as a road-map
    that leads
    to the doorway
    of my Lord
    so those who see me
    might find Him

  4. Donna says:

    Mirrors.
    Not my favorite household appliance…
    just another kind of meat grinder.

  5. Donna says:

    Mysteriously familiar
    old dusty poems
    lay here in my hand
    oozing today.

    What if, when I finally
    make my way
    home to myself,
    it’s just me
    standing there
    just this way?

    What if
    no matter how far I go,
    there I’ll be
    dusting off words
    looking into the same mirror
    seeing the same exact me?

    • Seth says:

      Donna,

      You are playing with an interesting concept here, depending on how the poem is read. I read this as a sort of tautological poem, a sort of “I am who I am” work. Maybe a “my words are what they are,” work?

      Very interesting.

      • Donna says:

        It is…. Yes… I am thinking I could (will) rewrite it taking the what ifs out. Because I don’t think it’s a questioning poem. I think it is a reflection of what is. For now. Maybe. :)

  6. The Entrance Way

    It is the ad infinitum image that tells of mystery
    Unending you’s
    Neverending me’s
    When two reflective portraits grace the wall,
    Poised and hanging
    Mirror images of themselves
    We see not dimly
    A continuing of man and man and man
    Until we cannot see
    And then I know
    That you will be there always
    Reflected in the hanging glass.
    Mirroring our past
    A million you’s stand
    Like Buckingham Palace guard
    And you will never leave
    Hanging there
    Across from a million me’s
    Two lives mirroring their love.
    An entrance to two lives in love.

    • Seth says:

      Elizabeth,

      The boys and I stood in a fun-house just yesterday and looked at the million of us. The question I had was sort of odd. When the mirrors begin to bend around the corner and the images disappear, you can lean back a little and see the continuation. But what if you don’t lean back? Do the images of you continue into infinity? Or, since it is a matter of optics in the first place, are the usses bound by what you can see?

      These are the questions that plague me. :)

  7. Geometrical optics is just a rough
    approximation. The angle of incidence
    is supposed to be the same as the angle

    of reflection. Well,
    when wavelengths are small enough
    to disregard the character of

    the wave, this method might work.
    But ray tracing requires straight lines
    with arrowheads showing they’re sure

    of their direction, requires
    no distortions, and you have to ignore
    the photon’s character as well

    as its energy levels. Not to mention,
    the angles have to be measured
    from the normal. It’s so hard to

    sketch a mirror image. Who can find
    a line of symmetry when everything
    is off-center?

  8. one day
    i fell
    through the looking glass
    ass first
    onto the other side
    waves shown golden
    In the sky
    the tide
    moving clouds around me
    silent but for the cry
    of a dove
    flying down
    and out of sight

  9. Morgan Thomas says:

    This is my first time submitting a poem to one of these…this is a great idea for a blog/website!
    Here goes:

    In an abbey

    A server studies
    his wrinkled forehead
    as he buffs the altar cross.

    A novice pauses before the Eucharist,
    tending his part in the Savior’s
    stained glass robes.

    The prior preens in a smuggled compact,
    spit-polishing silvered plastic
    until he rubs all the shellac away.

  10. Morgan Thomas says:

    Or maybe…

    Reflection

    The looking glass remembers
    a tongue flicking
    over metal-bound teeth,
    light gleam off acid-tipped finger
    as it daubs red-pigmented cyst,
    tense muscles beneath shaving cream
    and the way lips part to curse
    the sting of razor’s slip.

    But mostly,
    the spray of spit and toothpaste
    from a foaming laughter mouth,
    hairline crack in the bottom corner
    and the dare that swung the hammer,
    urine splash off porcelain
    because the door’s slam made you jump,
    warmth of your palm’s glass-press attempt
    to know its form in a single plane,
    and the easy slide of the hand –
    gloved with rag towel and windex –
    that wipes the rest away.

  11. JoyAnne O'Donnell says:

    Mirror runs life
    with reflections strife
    I wish I could see you
    a flower shining new
    maybe a soul true
    maybe an angels helping clue.


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