There is a story to be found in anything and, I am finding, that there is also a theology to be found in any story. I feel this poem is an apt example of enjoying the beauty of an old tale reimagined while contemplating a truth that shimmered in the retelling.
Mirror, Mirror Had Great Fall
“Mirror, mirror upon the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?”
I once was asked from day to day
And in reply I’d always say
“My lady, it is surely true;
The brightest, fairest one is you.”
It was my joy, your face to see,
Peering in and out of me.
And mine was whitest complexion
For it was rightest reflection;
To revel was no vanity
For I shone back your own beauty.
“Mirror, mirror upon the wall.”
I’d thrill to hear my mistress call
And sing to her worshipful words
That beauty best was only hers,
That there could be another one
Would be to think the moon the sun.
Yet still a subtle crack did creep
Out from some secret, smeary deep
And when her face would turn aside,
A self-whisper would soft confide.
The dream I dared not dream when she
Would smile, singing, before me.
“Mirror, mirror upon the wall-”
Her song my heart did yet enthrall
For ’tis my nature to reflect
That which I love as first object.
In her dawn’s light, all else soon fades,
Sly secrets flee as shyest shades.
But then again as she’d depart
(Though I know she yet saw mine heart)
I’d ponder those sly smudgélings
That obscure honest imagings
And I could not but speculate
What once I’d simply contemplate.
I, the Mirror on the wall,
Dreamt I was fairest of them all!
And as I answered, said aloud
Those words, so false and yet so proud:
“I cannot say, my dearest queen,
For you’re the only one I’ve seen.”
“Perhaps,” I pressed, not to give in,
Enthused by this first spoken sin,
“There is another one dearer
Kept hid within this magic mirror
And if I only can break free,
I’ll find the fairest one is me.”
O! Mirror hung upon the wall,
You must have known that you would fall;
To try and see your own self rule
Was to prove only princely fool.
A mirror looking in its glass
Will find nothing but emptiness.
In turning to a blank portrait
I chose the broken mirror’s fate;
Bad fortune was my prideful gain,
For nihil gleamed the shattered pane.
I thought not e’er to see again
but, of a sudden-
“Mirror mine, though you did fall,”
Spoke she, most loved and feared of all,
“Your shattered face was made for mine
And I have power to refine,
To smooth and polish, good as new,
Though with a somehow richer hue.
“You, shaped to be an image of
The Beauty that shines forth above,
Are raised once more to this high wall,
To see the more-than-fair of all
And hence reflect and emulate
That Beauty ever true and great.”