Part 1 of . The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The mirror – it startles me. (I wrote this poem 12 years ago today. To say the mirror startles me now is an understatement.)
It is an ancient, common tale, And we do not like to think That our lustrous hair and lovely eye May someday be extinct.
Our big bright eyes were open wide, And we were cute and thin; We did not fret, the mirror showed Pink cheeks and glowy skin.
It held us there in happiness “Yes, I approve,” it said. And thoughts of aging gracefully Were put into our heads.
It holds me now in disbelief, I gasp when I stand still, And catch a glimpse of how it shows Its lack of kind goodwill.
My heart is sinking like a stone, I cannot choose but hear, And thus cackles that shiny fiend “You’re not the same, my dear!”
Then I was cheered, my face had cleared, Of spots and pimply beasts, Below though, they were lurking, To get me while I sleep.
The sun is up now in the east, Out of my bed I crawl, And see a face reflected that Just isn’t me at all!
Higher and higher every day, My expectations loomed. I’d diet, I’d fuss, I’d stay for hours In the exercising room.
Frustrated, I pace back and forth, Red in the face, I sigh. The scale, who is not my friend, Shows me an all-time high!
“I’ve worked so hard, I do not know What gives, for heaven’s sake?” And thus goes on the ancient rhyme From night until I wake.
Now a storm-blast, not a smile, Assails me when I think, That I’m NOT aging gracefully, The opposite, I think!
I’ve sloping masts and dipping prow, I’ve crow’s feet, lines; I’m pudgy. These thoughts just make me want to eat Some pie, or something fudgy.
I should turn back, loud roars the snack, (I ate it, now it’s quiet!)
And now there is a misty fog, My vision’s getting blur’y. The eye doctor said “It’s just age,” And told me not to worry.
It really seems just yesterday That I was seventeen. No shape of what I used to be The mirror is all between.
The mirrors are here, the mirrors are there, The mirrors are all around: They mock and laugh, and roar and howl, My self-respect is down!
At length did sneak the wrinkles, Through the years they came; As they had been a horrid smell, I curse them, but in vain.
I ate chocolate to comfort me, Chubby and plump I grew. My jeans did split with a thunder-fit; But I would not buy new!
And a good dose of denial came by, “You’ll be fit again!” did follow, But every day, I was still plump In sadness I still wallow.
In mist or cloud, in sun or gray, Age perched to stare at me; While overnight, I’d think each morn, It multiplied times three.
“God save thee, ancient lady, From your loss of self-esteem! – Why look’st thou so?” — “I’m old, and lo! I bought the hundred-dollar cream!”
~Noelle Marier ©2010