(a poem in response to Sylvia Plath’s Mirror and Mary Oliver’s Sleeping in the Forest).
A cloudless day and Earth saw herself reflected
in Sky’s mirror as never before; not cruel
but perfect. A small kingdom full of lakes
and forests, alive with insect and bird.
Over and over, Earth rose and felt herself
breathing. This was important to Earth,
to be looked at so long: to be seen.
A woman stands so tenderly arranging
a posy of flowers. She catches herself
reflected in Sky’s mirror, and what she
sees is abhorrent: an old woman.
Not luminous, but fish scaled.
Why should Sky’s mirror, God’s
little eye, reflect what it sees so faith-
fully? Why not be a liar, replace the wizened
face for another: silvery pink, light as layers
Now the woman works in darkness
for fear the fertile seeds and lichen will
mock her. She is stone heavy. Maybe
when the light next comes she’ll feel
renewed: green as shoots. Can she
hope, without preconception, to
see herself as something more
Earth’s heart flickered for the face below;
the face of the old woman. She reached out
her hand and asked the woman to search for
what she really was: a candle, a moon, a
bringer of light.
With tears in her eyes, the woman thanks
Earth. She thanks Sky’s mirror too for
showing her the truth. She won’t vanish.
She’ll rise instead towards morning, a dozen
times, and more, her pockets brimming
with white fire.
Copyright © Belinda Rimmer 2016
I live in Cheltenham and spend a lot of time writing books for children, poems or street descriptions for Camden Bus estate agents! I’ve had poems published in a variety of magazines. I’m a member of Cheltenham Poetry Society and attend Buzzwords, a regular Sunday evening meet-up for poets,