Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 11.5: Reflections



Stride over the pier,
lean over, look down.
A picture appears,

stares back up,
you outside of yourself.
Ripples tease its surface,

wave from every edge.
Like a Scooby Doo monster
pretending to be a mirror

it moves when you move,
arches a wiggle eyebrow
the moment you arch yours,

raises right with you,
left with you,
dances when you do,

grins at you
until you launch to meet
splashes in the wind.


Day 11 was a day reserved for family, so I don't feel bad at all about this one coming late.  The make-up will arrive this evening.

This poem plays on the idea of looking at yourself, the reflection in the water a metaphor for how we see ourselves.  I tried to build in some layers to this.  Poetry is a means of reflection, but like any other, it is incomplete.  A poet sees what he or see wants to see and portrays it as he or she chooses to portray it; looking at yourself and drawing conclusions is no more reliable--and in some ways can be less reliable--than looking at and drawing conclusions about someone else.

The Scooby Doo analogy comes in for two reasons.  One is that it feels particularly apt: sometimes the self we see is not beautiful but in fact monstrous or grotesque, but we see enough to believe that really is us.  The other, of course, is that I loved Scooby Doo as a kid.  (I feel no such nostalgic affection for Scrappy, but that is neither here nor there.)

Finally, I chose water as the medium for our self-presentation because of its connotation of impermanence.  Reflecting on a version or ourselves does not make that version any more real than another version of ourselves, and the splashing away of that image represents that ability to change what we see.

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