Man in the mirror

Who is this man? I knew him once, I swear,
But though he seems familiar, I can’t place
Him. Did we meet out on the road somewhere,
Drink beer, load hay, play music, ride bikes, chase
Loose cows (or ladies)? Something in his face
Speaks of things as they were long lives ago;
Of half-forgotten dreams and days of grace.
He’s lithe and quick; makes me feel stiff and slow,
Set in my ways. The world is his to go
And conquer still, while duty, age and fear
Have vanquished me. We could be friends, I know,
But time is short: some day, he’ll disappear
And leave the mere remembrance of his light
Until it, too, is taken by the night.


A Spenserian sonnet – my first! – in response to a beautiful example given to us by the wonderful Tom Davis over at fourwindowspress. The rhyme scheme is a challenge, but it feels good to stretch myself again. Thank you for the inspiration, Tom – in this, as in so many other things. N.

10 thoughts on “Man in the mirror

  1. A great sonnet, Nick. Just as good as I thought it would be.
    What would happen if our older selves met our younger selves?
    My mother is facing dementia now, and the last few lines of this hit hard. She is fighting a courageous battle against short-term memory loss, getting out in the world every day in a round of movement designed to keep her anxieties at bay, but she is close to losing the younger self that lived with my Dad in a tent on the Gunnison River in North Delta, Colorado when they were first married.
    The night gets closer as we get older.
    There is grace in this sonnet:
    …Something in his face
    Speaks of things as they were long lives ago;
    Of half-forgotten dreams and days of grace.
    The lines reach toward meaning the summarizes all of human existence. A great effort.
    I too found the rhyme scheme a little challenging. I decided I had gotten too comfortable with the Shakespearean. Now to an Italian this weekend!
    Though I shall never outpace you, my friend, I’m afraid.

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