The Mirror

By Virgina Griem

(Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott)
with apologies to Alfred Lord Tennison

And here we are like damsels bound
in four grey walls and four grey towers
we only have a space of flowers
to walk and keep our distance in
and so we weaveth steadily
or knit, or write or cook or spin,
the whole while closely looking in
the mirror blue of tablet screen
catch-up TV and mobile phone
to see the shadows of the world
where rides outwide the knight coroned.

A curse is on us if we stray
and so we stay and weaveth still
to zoom and text and video
listen to the radio
and long for children far away
in Exeter or Hither Green
or where the dreaming spires abound
in Oxfordshire and London town.
No longer hear the highway near
so quiet now that not a sound
disturbs the silence of our ground.

But on the web we still delight
to weave the mirror’s magic sights
though endless through the silent
dawn a mourning party of but none,
lays down a brother, mother, son.
And so we grieve to hear the toll
of those whose eyes are darkn’d wholly,
day on day recited lowly,
to see the shadows of the world
where gaily coloured graphs proclaim
the world can never be the same.

Virginia Griem has been  published in various anthologies, and won the Ilkley Literature Festival  Walter Swan Poetry Competition in 2018.  She has been longlisted in the National Poetry Competition and has been placed and shortlisted in several other national competitions.  As part of the Teignmouth Poetry Festival organisation team, Virginia runs the annual poetry competition.


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Robert Milby
1 year ago

Interesting blend of traditional and modern.
Your movement into atavistic images and ideas
is a fine escape from the crises that weigh on the world.

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