I look. You look
Away. No colour,
No ruffling of the brow’s
Your feeling. As though I
Were not here; as
Though you were your own
Mirror, you arrange yourself
For the play. My eyes’
Adjectives; the way that
I scan you; the
Conjunction the flesh
Needs – all these
Are as nothing
To you. Serene, cool,
Motionless, no statue
Could show less
The impression of
My regard. Madam, I
Grant the artistry
Of your part. Let us
Consider it, then,
A finished performance.
by R. S. Thomas
from H’m (1972)
One mirror must mirror another;
each mirror mismirrors the other.
Not that evil cannot be defeated,
only that we cannot escape defeat;
I believe in the ash left behind by the fire;
not in the music that burned my life.
by Георгий Владимирович Иванов (Georgii Vladimirovich Ivanov)
a.k.a. Georgy Ivanov
translated by Robert Chandler
At the foot of the bed in the dead of the night
It stood there, or rather it hovered –
Two luminous eyes and a face ghastly white
From which I have never recovered.
When I asked, ‘Who are you?’ It looked taken aback,
Indeed, you could say It looked frightened;
But then, I was too, and my hair, raven-black,
From that moment has curiously whitened.
So I asked It once more, ‘Who are you?’ – Again
Its pale lips moved mockingly, mutely,
While the night-wind howled loud in the sobbing rain
And It stared back, trembling acutely.
Which seeing, I screwed up my courage and switched
On the lamp, hands fumbling in terror –
Then my eyes met a jibbering idiot who twitched
Like my twin in the newly hung mirror.
– by Raymond Wilson