Through the Looking Glass

Mirror, mirror on the wall
show me in succession all
my faces, that I may view
and choose which I would like as true.
 
Teach me skill to disguise
what’s not pleasing to the eyes,
with faith, that life obeys the rules,
in man or God or football pools.
 
Always keep me well content
to decorate attitude and event
so that somehow behind the scene
I may believe my actions mean;
 
that one can exercise control
in playing out a chosen role;
rub clouded glass and then,
at will, write self on it again.
 
But if, in some unlucky glance,
I should glimpse naked circumstance
in all its nowhere-going-to,
may you crack before I do.

Veronica Forrest-Thomson, "Through the Looking Glass" from Collected Poems and Translations. Copyright © 1971 by Veronica Forrest-Thomson.  Reprinted by permission of Allardyce, Barnett, Publishers.
Source: Collected Poems (Shearsman Books, 2008)
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