Mirror For the Mirror

Rowan Ricardo Phillips

copyright ©2015 by Rowan Ricardo Phillips

This night sky won’t always have a meaning,
Won’t always mean something it’s meant before,
For if it did it would always be but
Merest meaning, and how then would I know
Myself from any other self, my self
Beached at the sea of my soul, as it turns
To sing back to this star-seized evening that’s
Unreeling and unreals like Paradise?

Notes on the Poem

Our glimpse at Rowan Ricardo Phillips' "Mirror For the Mirror" from his collection Heaven brings us to the end of a sweet journey through the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist. Phillips' poem affords us a truly captivating way of wrapping up this part of the 2016 celebration, as we prepare for the readings and awards festivities on June 1st and 2nd, 2016. Phillips packs powerful individual and cumulative effects into eight lines, from hypnotic repetition to clever homonyms and resonant oblique rhymes. His textual achievements bring to mind strong visual imagery: that of mirrors reflecting mirrors and mirrored images on and on, infinitely and similarly, that of starry skies reflected on water, where the transition between heavens and water is seamless, invisible. This poem is a fine example of what the Griffin Poetry Prize judges cited as "the heaven of ecstatic language and lyric possibility" in Phillips' so aptly titled collection. This essay and accompanying image are just one example of how mirrors are potent metaphors and starting points for subjects and discussions that demand - pun intended - reflection. Rowan Ricardo Phillips' evocations here are invigorating and endlessly intriguing, not to mention tantalizing to read aloud.

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