[What Were We Thinking]

(Video to come)

What were we thinking when we wrote this prompt?

he holds up a mirror

tells me to look in the glass

left is right and I’m left handed

secure in my penmanship

even if I cannot read half of what I write

this could be the counter earth

always half a hidden orbit ahead

the other side of the sun

right is left and I favour the right now

so I’m looking for a second mirror

to make it all better again

hoping to avoid that infinity thing

left is right is left is right is

all too much for me

so I stare and stare

and normalise what I see

a man in a mirror

looking back at me


I have to confess that this prompt was easier for me than some of the others.

As soon as I read it I thought of a man holding a mirror. The the word mind games popped up.

I know that what ever I write will cast light on my process, which is the point of the prompt. Like the Rorschach Test I will see what I think is there.

I used to facilitate a poetry group, Juncture 25. We met twice a month and the second time was always to undertake a poetry workshop. I probably took responsibility for most of the sessions but tried not to dwell on the prompt before hand. I came to like the idea of writing something in a set time and I faced this prompt in exactly the same manner.

It’s strange but when I start to write I have the first line or two clear in my head and surrounding them a number of ideas. In this case I was thinking about an old 1960s science fiction film, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun [https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064519/]. It is a very bad film. I think there are also a set of dodgy old science fiction/fantasy books by John Norman about the idea of a counter earth. I seem to remember reading the first back in the early 70s.

The other image that was floating about was the cover of Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma, not I hasten to add that I am a fan. But there is that mirror which is different in every reflection on the lp’s cover.

Those were the influences for the poem. The knack, though, is not to think but to write and let those images/ideas just swirl around your skull.

As a poem I think it works. I shall post it next Friday on my blog. Then it will go into a drawer for a couple of months. Then when I look at it again I will see the flaws more clearly.

I just found the line that prompted me to think about breathing under water. It is off Murray Head’s Restless – the track is Maybe Tomorrow and the line is As buildings roll by me, I dream of a life in the ocean- so there’s nothing about breathing underwater in it!

Not that it stopped me. I sometimes get lines because I hear the words of a song incorrectly.

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