The heat is rising in the Midwest, and the pavement is awash in mirage after mirage. I noticed the first summer reflections last week on the road to Fort Smith, the pools of water evaporating just before my reaching them. There they were; then, there they weren’t. Mirages and high-school girlfriends — they share certain properties.
I considered the mirage, its definition and etymology. A mirage, says Merriam-Webster, is an “optical illusion of water in sandy deserts, ” and comes from the French word “to be reflected, ” as if in a mirror. Mirrors and mirages are reflective opposites, though. One reflects that which is. The other reflects that which is not.
Undoubtedly, there are those who mistake mirages for mirrors and vice versa. Consider, for instance, the cowboy who follows the reflection of water deeper into the desert, the one who mistakes illusion for true reflection. Consider, on the other hand, the one who sees an ever-flawed mirror image, the one who imposes mirage upon true reflection. Deception, see, is not merely found in a mirage’s promise. Perception can impose deceit over reflection, too.
So let’s consider them — mirage versus mirror.
Do you know the difference?
Poetry Prompt: We’ve been writing poetry prompts around the theme “Mirror, Mirror, ” this month, and your pieces have been great. This week, though, we’d like to pen poems about different sorts of reflections — mirages. Consider a mirage you’ve followed. Use the mirage as a metaphor, a prop, or a analogy. Discuss reflections — both false and true. As always, we’ll award extra points for creativity (and maybe a bonus point or two for style). Who’s first?
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. Maureen Doallas composed a found poem entitled “Infinite, ” using words from my post “Realities Reflected.” It reads,
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
I love a good Ozark poem, Maureen. Thanks!
Richard Maxson brought this poetic reflection:
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.
Thanks for sharing your poem with us, Richard.
Thank you for the rest of you who participated last week. It is a privilege to see your work take shape on the screen. Now, let’s get to writing some mirage poetry. Who’s first?
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.