Look Into The Mirror: What You See Might Surprise You!

This is a post titled ‘Instant Art’ that was first published on Monday, June 23, 2008 in my private blog.  I reproduce it here today to add to the recent posts on mirrors that I have published in this Art section of my public blog.  It may very well be that I will still do individual posts on each of these mirrors, but until such time, here’s something for the eyes and the mind.

Sylvia Plath’s Mirror is the well-known poem that is often cited in literary circles for being the quintessential poem on mirrors, but I myself have never been quite taken with the dark and dismal imagery of her lines, especially those from the second verse.  But then, given Plath’s general state of mind, and all other things considered, I suppose this was very much in character…  


To me, personally, mirrors are simply works of art:  not just because of the various frames that they come in– that are certainly works of art in and of themselves– but more so because of what they usually reflect– faces.  It is an almost powerful feeling of being able to create art instantaneously simply by virtue of holding a mirror up to your face, or viewing the face of another inside a mirror!  Nothing vain about it; just a matter-of-fact wonder in seeing one’s reflection and knowing that there is no other way to see so clearly one’s own face were it not for this piece of glass (a body of water might offer the same, only not-so-clearly).


So:  here are some of the mirrors that I call my own.  Actually, I didn’t consciously go about collecting them; it just so happens that they’ve come to me one way or another, and most, if not all have some meaning to me.  Look inside any one of them, and voila! a work of art is there for your viewing pleasure.  Small note on each of them in the order that they appear:


  • The silver and turquoise lacquer one was a gift from my dear cousin, Shorrosh.  It is actually a photo-frame, but I chose to have a mirror put into it.  🙂 It found a nice spot for itself in the drawing room.
  • The wooden one with the ivory-like inlay was a gift from Meenu, one of the kids from our Children’s Home; it is made in Saharanpur, known for its world-famous woodwork. So special and lovely is it that it found its way into my kitchen.
  • The shapely wooden one in which I appear holding my camera is more than a mirror; it is a holder of all the keys that come in and out of the house; a $5 treasure from Treasure Mart– it certainly owns the piece of wall that it hangs on right inside the front doorway.
  • The one on my dresser is not too clear, but it is one that is carved and painted in muted colors of blue and brick.  It says it is made in Thailand on the back, but I’ll admit I found it on sale at the Pier One store!
  • The one with the beaten copper and handmade tiles is from Albuquerque, New Mexico that I picked up in a charming little shop in the old-town district while there last Fall. Absolutely exquisite, this one also found its way into the drawing room.
All of them beautiful in style and size, and the special meaning they bear of either being a gift or of having been discovered.  And above all, of course, for the unique work of art each of them offers when one looks into any of them!

 And since I invoked Plath’s poem to begin with, here it is in its entirety.  Pity that Plath apparently was revolted with the notion and appearance of a face marked with time.  I, on the contrary, would wish to seek out the pulchritude and grandeur of a face weathered with time and tide– be it my own or that of another.  After all, wouldn’t you want the mirror to tell you the truth– or would you rather be like the evil Queen in Snow White?   (And this is purely a sidebar:  When confronted with the Truth, I would recommend that it be accepted and embraced, and not made out to be a Liar.)

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.

Whatever 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 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.


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