Thursday, 26 April 2012

Evidence that becoming 50 has its downsides.

As a joyful celebration of my 50th birthday, I thought I'd post one of my bestest favouritest poems which is by Sylvia Plath.  It's from the point of view of a woman's mirror, into which she looks each day and ... well ... let's just say, it's not Sophia Loren looking back.  I love the ending of this poem.  It's like a horror movie.

I always find it best to let the mirror steam up before I look in it.


Mirror

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
What ever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful---
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.












Fran wondered whether a bit more mascara might balance the look out a bit



36 comments:

  1. Bravo. I love Plath. I've had a collection of her poetry with me since I was 15. She never ceases to amaze, even now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's ace. And there is something about this one particularly that makes me shiver.

      Delete
  2. I know a lot of women who apply make-up, so that they don't look out of plaice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, stop carping on about make-up.

      Delete
    2. just saying, if my mirror reflected a 'tache and goatee - I'd hate it too!

      Delete
  3. Happy Birthday, Fran!!

    Poor sole - there's no need to be koi about Being Fifty!

    LOVE the poem - thanks for posting it. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I'm of-fish-ially old now.

      Delete
  4. Great poem, thank-you for posting it. You're looking beautiful today! Happy Birthday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Today I made an effort. This is me at my best.

      Delete
  5. just remember when you put eyeshadow on to move your eyelid back to the top again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read that one in Top Tips for Fish who Want to Pursue a Modelling Career.

      Delete
  6. Choosing a photo of Dad for this blog post was a bit mean, wasn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Have a great birthday! Love the poem. Reminds me of gloomy old Hardy:

    I look ino my glass
    And view my wasting skin
    And say, would God it came to pass
    My heart had shrunk as thin!

    For then I, undistressed
    By hearts grown cold to me,
    Could lonely wait my endless rest
    With equanimity.

    ( may not be totally accurate. I learned it at school!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I taught this in class only a couple of months ago. He's another laugh-a-minute poet, isn't he?

      Delete
  8. Can't think what you're complaining about ... your reflection's so glamorous ! I always wonder why my granny is in a snit and why she's glaring at me .

    ( Youngest Daughter went to An Evening With Joan Collins last weekend . J.C. looked amazing , apparently , but the audience was terrifying ! )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is any of Joan Collins still Joan Collins?

      Delete
  9. Sounds like a strange poem to celebrate your birthday. Poor Sylvia; so unhappy. On my birthday I curl up with chocolate and Dr. Seuss. "Oh the places I will go..."

    ReplyDelete
  10. Unhappy, but with so much truth, she has to be heard.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh Fran, I missed it. Happy Birthday, you child. Enjoy your youthful appearance while you've got it. Things get worse...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enjoy my youthful appearance.....??? Now, I must have PUT that somewhere, but I'm blowed if I know where ....

      Delete
  12. Happy Birthday! I worship Plath. I want to visit her grave and give her tulips and tell her the world would have been a better place if she had stayed and Ted had gone.

    Love,
    Janie Junebug

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen her grave. I was on a writing holiday nearby. It all felt very literary, being there.

      Delete
  13. Belated Happy Birthday, Fran.
    X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Suzanne. I don't mind belated. It helps me keep it going for a while. And there's still a balloon tied to my chair at work which won't go down.

      Delete
  14. aaagh...brilliant...welcome to the gray side happy birthday!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been on the gray side a while now. Every time I have my hair cut, there's more and more of it.

      Delete
    2. I mean, the grey seems more and more evident. Thought I'd better clear up that nonsensical comment.

      Delete
  15. Counting down to fifty now and what did I buy myself last week...? A bloody huge mirror ! ( It's not to look at me in, it's to reflect the lovely view behind outside my window !)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, as time goes by, it's best to use mirrors for making the room look bigger, reflecting views, fairy tale role play sessions etc etc.

      Delete
  16. Hope you had a fun birthday! I'm not sure I can go in and get myself ready now. All that imagery... A friend and I decided, when celebrating our 40th birthdays, to not bemoan how we look today since we'll look back in 10 years and think we were so cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In 10 years' time, you might be lucky to remember 10 years' back. Don't count on it. Anyway, why did I come upstairs?

      Delete
  17. Happy 50th Birthday Fran, and if you have to be a fish let it be a flying fish! Have a great year.

    Anna May x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anna May. I guess I can't be a young gill for ever.

      Delete
  18. So many clever comments ( and replies!) I cannot compete! Happy 50th anyway from a 66 year old ( though they tell me I don't look it!) My husband said yesterday that he wants to put a mirror in our newly decorated hall...I said " not on that wall because I will see myself every time I walk through, and that is not good....I manage to avoid most of the mirrors in the house, but that would be a difficult one" If I am " posing" it is not so bad, but just to catch sight of oneself unexpectedly is horrendous.
    I have never been a poetry person, but I did actually understand the Plath one.( I am happier with the likes of Pam Ayres...who is brilliant live on stage by the way)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yes, unexpected is never good! Even if you're Kate Moss, it's probably not brilliant. For a start, because it IS unexpected, you always have your mouth hanging open, and that's not a good look for anyone.

    I think Pam Ayres is good too. Have never seen her live, but have watched some youtube videos.

    ReplyDelete