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Realities Reflected (A Poetry Prompt)


The slanted, off-kilter fun-house bedroom emptied into a narrow a corridor, a hallway with mirrored walls. The lights were bright, fluorescent lit, and gave the general impression of being trapped inside that Bruce Lee classic, Enter the Dragon.  My three boys and I stopped, noticed the hundreds of us-es that seemed to stretch around slight reflective bends until disappearing. We were mirror images upon mirror images, each me reflecting another me-s’ motions. I waved. So did one thousand other me-s.

The children stood amazed, each contorting their faces and watching their numerous corresponding reflections. It was our moment of infinity, a moment wherein each of us stretched from our points of origin into forever.

We walked from the mirrored hall and stepped into the Ozark sun, each of us laughing at our myriad reflections. We were finite again, bound to time and space in a single plane. But as we walked across the blacktop to the nearby ice cream parlor, I wondered aloud whether the myriad other me-s were stepping out of their own respective mirrored rooms and into parallel universes, whether there was a quantum reality where my clone and his three clone-boys were laughing at the us-es they had witnessed. Perhaps they were making their way to their own ice cream parlors, I quipped. Maybe their waffle cone orders would match ours. Maybe they wouldn’t. Perhaps our other-world alternates were discussing the potential realities behind the mirrors and guessing whether I would order a chocolate malt or a root beer float.

My sons paused for a moment to consider. What if there were mirrored versions of themselves stretching along infinite parallels? What if the convergence with our alternate selves was found only in that fun-house mirror moment?

“That’s silly, dad,” my eldest said.

“Perhaps,” I said. “But just imagine the possibilities.”

Poetry Prompt: The mirror is just a reflection of reality. Right? Imagine the possibilities behind (or through) the mirror, though. In literature, mirrors have been used as magical objects, as portals for alternative realities or parallel universes. This week, get creative with your mirror poems and consider the magic in the mirror. Consider the alternatives through the looking glass.


Tweetspeak’s Mirror, Mirror Poetry Prompt:

This month we’re considering the theme “Mirror, Mirror,”  and we’ll be composing poems around the subject. How do you participate in this month’s poetry prompt?

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 week produced several great “Mirror, Mirror” poems. Consider this snippet from Troy Cady, who penned a poem about a shaving mirror:

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

As usual, Maureen Doallas brings a few good words, too. In “Mixed Feelings,” she writes:

The saddest stuff
needs no mirror,

sees its own
passage through

a cavity of grief
to come out unchanged

on the other side.

Donna does her part, tapping out a tautological piece. A snippet from her poem reads:

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?

Do you want to have your work highlighted here at Tweetspeak? Join this month’s “Mirror, Mirror,” poetry prompt, and maybe we’ll highlight your poem in the coming months.

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


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

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Your Comments

17 Comments so far

  1. Donna says:

    Seth, thank you for featuring my poem. I also want to say that you have captured it all. Boiled down it’s all there. I’ve been trying to rewrite it bc I like what I was saying but now how I was saying it so much… never thought to pare it down. I know that was probably not your intention, but it actually is all I really wanted to say in far fewer words. :) So. Thanks for that. I learn so much here.

  2. Thank you for including me, Seth. Here’s a found poem I’ve taken from your piece:


    We stretched our moment
    in that Ozark sun, a mirror
    that fluorescent-lit our origin
    in light. Reality perhaps was
    finite, a time and space
    of potential we reflected, each
    to the other. But consider:
    of hundreds and thousands
    of possibilities the forever
    that was just you
    and I.

    • Donna says:

      Maureen, I love your found poems and I really do wonder, every time, how you do that. Have you ever written about your process in this? I’d love to read about how t comes to (from) you.

      • Donna, no, I haven’t written about it. I don’t think I can explain it other than to say it’s an intuitive sense of how words go together to make meaning.

        Thank you for your kind words.

    • Seth says:

      I love this, Maureen (which comes as no surprise because I love almost everything you put your pen to). “Reality perhaps was finite, a time and space of potential we reflected….” Yes’m. This about sums it up.

      Thank you for honoring me with a found poem.

  3. Sonia Joie says:

    I wrote this poem before seeing this post. It’s funny, because I noticed that the post starts with ‘the slanted’ :)

    Slanted sideways,
    leaning back on a dusty wall,
    the cloth slipping off to let it reflect
    the ancient secrets in the weathered wood.
    I look into it,
    bright blue eyes staring back.

    • Donna says:

      The way you write this, Sonia…. I feel I am in the old dusty room… I can even smell how old “things” smell. Nice!

    • Seth says:

      Thank you for sharing this, Sonia. Did this poem come from an actual experience? I’d love to hear more about the what gave rise to this piece.

    • Seth says:

      This, Maureen, is a gem of a piece. The way you conjure is tender, but also intimate. It leaves the reader seeing the image, and maybe feeling as if they are privy to a secret scene. This, somehow, makes the poem that much more intimate and intriguing.

  4. Richard Maxson says:


    I see my father’s eyes,
    now blue and calm—
    the muddy river has reached the sea—
    as if he were at last happy
    with his life, his children grown
    out of their angst, into the world.

    When he laughs, his face glows,
    unrecognizable at first,
    no hesitation, the lines of his mouth
    know easily where to go.

    There is no fear, his brow is smooth,
    but it is his face
    and in its shadow parts, fierceness
    hides, a beast from a old dream.

    The eyes again: they are kind
    and deep with joy and tears.
    Before, there was no memory of quiet woods,
    the beautiful energy of waves
    breaking themselves over rocks into pools,
    a larger love learned by loving.

    One final thing before the light is gone—
    I love this face, even though it’s one
    I feared so long. You’ve changed
    because of me. I have forgiven you.


  1. Mirror, Mirage (A Poetry Prompt) | - June 17, 2013

    [...] Doallas composed a found poem entitled “Infinite,” using words from my post “Realities Reflected.”  It [...]

  2. Tweetspeak Rocks (A Poetry Prompt) | - July 1, 2013

    [...] Mirror” produced some good poetry. My favorite from last month was Maureen Doallas, who used the text of our poetry prompt to create her own found poem. In “Infinite,” she [...]

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