It was a tragedy, seven years’ misfortune.
And yet, the shards were beautiful,
sharp edges shimmering,
a dark rift spreading
as the mirror cracked
from side to side. A waterfall
of tiny splinters tumbled
to the stone flagged floor
and underneath the bathroom door,
tiny jewels of tears
sobbed from her magnificent reflection:
bound by a curse, her soul is free.

Kim M. Russell, 2nd December 2019

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My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Rommy’s Challenge: Words to Live By

For her final post ever with the Toads, which she says was a bittersweet task, Rommy has turned to the power of words. She would like us to reflect on words that mean something special to us, write a poem based on them, and share what the actual words were that inspired us.

When I was nine years old, we had a wonderful teacher who loved poetry, stories and language. One of the poems she had us recite was ‘The Lady of Shalott’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I loved the sound of the words, the way they rolled in my mouth, as if they were magic spells. My favourite lines were:

‘She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side’

and they stayed with me, especially the final line.

30 thoughts on “Cracked

  1. What I like the most about your poem is how you have managed to blend the traditional with modern diction. The idea of a bathroom mirror offers many interpretations for the 21st century Lady of Shalott and reminds me of the timelessness of good story telling.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was struck by two ideas – that a mirror and a broken mirror will both reflect, and second, that the mirror cracked from side to side feels like a smile, like grinning ear to ear. Something is broken and yet happy.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your Lady of Shallott and Kerry’s Ophelia (and who else, I wonder, as I read this prompt’s pond) both delve so deeply into the noosing noir of the poem, the long note of yearning strung so over deep waters. Here what breaks the heart is also the metier of its enchantment, the broken mirror’s “shards” “beautiful, / sharp edges shimmering,” “tiny jewels of tears” “shimmering” with grief. That’s what the great poems of yearning and loss so reflect for us all, offering us tiny reflections of our own longing. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Margaret. It’s been such a long time since I read Anne of Green Gables. I think I’ll check if the library has a copy – for old times’ sake.


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