Opposing mirrors

The more I age, the more
I see my father and my father’s
father and my mother’s father
Like when you see yourself
repeated in opposing mirrors

I see an endless row of men.

Watching photographs I see myself
in black and white, in sepia,
I see it in the way they tilt their heads,
a jawline here, an eye, an ear,
I see my future in the way they aged.

And so the photo album melts
amalgamates into the me I meet
in shadows and in the mirrors.
Into the weight of DNA
the helix codes I carry.

Two Male Figures Looking in a Mirror and a Putto. by Jacopo Pontormo

In this crazy month of April I add another poem, I’m still behind but hope to get up to thirty. This is written for Kim who prompt us to write about the heritage we carry in our flesh at dVerse, maybe it’s an eye, your mouth. Go into the details and explain.

April 24, 2018

31 responses to “Opposing mirrors

  1. I love the way you always find an unusual piece of artwork to illustrate your poetry, Bjorn! I also love the reflections of the ‘endless row of men’ and that you see yourself in those old photographs and that you see your future in the way they aged.I often look in the mirror and see both my mother and my grandmother. My favourite lines:
    ‘And so the photo album melts
    amalgamates into the me I meet
    in shadows and in the mirrors’.

  2. My sister and I quite often talk about how we’re turning into our mother, and she’s turning into her mother in turn. It is a little odd when you look at yourself in a photo and can quite clearly see another family member looking back at you.

  3. What a great poem — especially the last stanza. This is my favorite section:

    “And so the photo album melts
    amalgamates into the me I meet
    in shadows and in the mirrors.”

  4. I like the artwork and this excellent line (from your lineage): “And so the photo album melts amalgamates into the me I meet”

  5. Photo albums do reveal a lot of folks who sent their helix down to you. Great poem. Nothing can withstand the weight of the helix! A great line.

  6. Such a very clever way to approach the prompt. I most definitely see my mother, not only in appearance but in every aspect of behavior, it seems. Even in the quirks of aging that used to drive me crazy. Oh dear.

  7. It’s beautiful that we see them in us as we age, our family. I have my mom’s hands and my Granny’s eyes. To think future generations will see us. Very nicely written! =)

  8. Pingback: Opposing mirrors – The Militant Negro™·

  9. I sense a certain fatal disbelief in your poem, Bjørn. Weakness repeating itself. Rather believe in the fondness of the great grandfather, who gave name to the family, and whose traits are more or less repeated by the sons. It has to do with identity. Self-confidence. Your mother’s father was a different family from yours.

  10. Enjoyable, Björn. I particularly liked this part, “into the me I meet
    in shadows and in the mirrors.” I also appreciate your comment above about how you select the artwork that goes with your poem after you’ve written it. I’ve been having fun with that this month by selecting photos to go with the poems I post. I agree that it adds to the piece.

  11. Beautifully written and portrayed. I don’t know if I like the idea of seeing myself in my ancestors faces. At the moment I can’t, but perhaps I need to age a bit more and we all share the same-shaped wrinkles. 🙂

  12. loved every line Bjorn (and made me rethink my own humble contribution!!) .. and you pick the perfect artwork that mirrors your words each time!!

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