Merril D. Smith, 2019, Philadelphia, William Penn and City Hall Reflected

Monday Morning Musings:

“Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.”

–From Sylvia Plath, “Mirror”

“Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him?”

–Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes


In the window

the world is reflected

prismed into colors bright


the blue of sky

and clouds of white

refracted sites


ripple and sway

changing as you walk

then fading away


unlike skyscrapers

that here still stand

monuments to technology


in reflections,


a slight of hand.


Now in the puddle

the world is upside down

in shades of beige and grey

Building in a puddle, Philadelphia

diffused light

scattered over slate

and rippling away


carried to the river

then onwards

to the sea


but here

are windows closed

as eyes asleep


and minds imprisoned

in worlds of fancy

and dreams


of children

go unheeded

unheard, unseen


in cages

they perish

swept away


by the latest news

of violence

and thoughts and prayers


go out

to remove the games

and images


but not the guns

they remain–

see, they’re not to blame


and cash

wills out

with slaps on the back


for the boys

are boys

who grow to be men


and abuse


and again.


And what do they see

in their reflections?

Do they stop to reflect


on the people

they harm?

I read of survivors


who try to forgive

when they

can never forget–


we must never forget


the sights refracted

in sunshine and rain,

and here we sit


holding time still

for a moment,

if we could with will


in vino veritas,

and truth there is

that there is beauty


and light

and days when things

are just right,

moments granted

even when

the world is slanted


cock-eyed, the mother

becomes the child,

but when she laughs


you wonder what’s real

and see your reflection

there she and you


and she will never go

to the river again

but here a bird calls–


Hear it?

Listen and wonder

what does it see?


There its reflection

in the water

it looks at me.


Delaware River, Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

36 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. So much to reflect upon, here, like other worlds glimpsed in different stages as life goes on. A window pane, a puddle, waves that hint at different directions – yet none of them providing any answers.

    • Thank you very much, Jill.
      The quote is from one of his comic strips. I looked it up to make certain it was real. 🙂
      The photo was actually from earlier in the summer, but we did sit outside together on Friday.

  2. Oh I love those last lines! And I love those reflective photos too.
    It was heartbreaking when we realized my mother was no longer able to go anywhere. The shrinking world…and yet what images still mirror through those eyes? Worlds we can never know, though we can touch them now and again. (K)

  3. Ah, yes, I love reflections as well. I posted a pic of my daughter’s cat on Instagram looking through the door, and I loved how you could see both a piece of furniture behind her and the flagstone outside. Likewise, I love your photos, as well. I am particularly fond of the building within a building as for some reason the concept of that always stops me in my tracks. I don’t know why!

  4. I probably mentioned this before: One Sunday morning driving into downtown Jacksonville, Cliff was so mesmerized by a skyscraper reflection he nearly plowed into the car ahead of us. I screamed. He put on the brake. Accident averted.

    I’m glad you can touch your mother in ways that don’t involve crossing the river again. This is a powerful reflection!

  5. This had a lot for me to reflect upon, Merril. My heart and thoughts are full and tears shed for what is coming. I liked the bird (possibly a heron?) flying above you, along the river as well as your pensive words.

  6. There is a beautiful melancholy to your musings this week. (Or maybe it’s my own reflection of your words?) Your reflection images are wonderful and go so well with your lovely arrangement of words. ♥

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