Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Story So Far

Do you remember
At the beginning of the story
how I caught my reflection
in the bedroom mirror?
Do you remember
that I noticed how tall I was,
that I had dark hair
falling loosely over my collar
and smouldering eyes?
How I dressed casually, but smartly
keeping one step
ahead of the fashion crowd?
How I smiled at my reflection,
noting my bulbous nose
and long sideburns
framing my generous face,
a smile that said
You are one cool dude
and you know you are?

Well, I caught my reflection again,
this time in the window
of a back street café
where I am sheltering from the rain
and sipping a scalding hot cappuccino.
Maybe it’s the way I’m sitting
but I look much shorter,
and my hair is grey and thinning.
I’m wearing a heavy woollen coat
that belonged to my father,
a fashion that hasn’t yet swung around.
My nose, too, seems narrower, more angular,
and my lips are thinner,
my smile slightly lopsided,
like a rowing boat as you step in.

And I wonder
Am I the same person?
Or am I someone else,
who has wandered into the story
by mistake?


Roger Stevens said...

A new poem. Maybe not finished. I think it has a Billy Collins feel. I hope it's not already been done and I've dragged it up from my memory. If I have please tell me.

The Mighty Microbes project is nearly done. As there's already a band called that - the new band is called Wonky Finger. So the album will be called Wonky Finger Live at Staplecrust Village Hall.
Just mixing it now. Watch this space for how you can obtain your copy!

Liam Wilkinson said...

" smile slightly lopsided,
like a rowing boat as you step in."

- Billy Collins is good, but I doubt he's ever written such a sad, beautiful simile. Or poem for that matter.

Love it.

Cocaine Jesus said...

whenever i see my reflection it looks like my father staring back at me and that is truly scary. very much a poem that i can identify with. humorous but sad, also a deeply and alarmingly accurate portrayal of a middle aged man.
i think it is good to go with but i think only you can decide that.

Cate said...

It's a truly wonderful poem. You have a gift for taking common feelings and making them elegant.

I remember when my dad had his picture taken at my son's wedding. We showed it to him later, and he seemed very surprised. He said, "My goodness, that's my father."

I notice my own evolution the most in the wall of mirrors facing my stylist's chair at the beauty parlor. I should probably ask her not to spin me around to face it so abruptly (but you would think she would figure that out when she hears the gasp).

tim scannell said...

taught 22 yrs & am sooooooooooooooooooooo happy now not to have to folllow rules when writing...

um u.s. and british stamps
happy to swap 500 u.s. cancelled commeratives for
500 brit. used commeratives

um, 1,300 poems, and from that number about 300 book reviews (chapbooks)...and a score of articles
alternate zines, poetry, etc.

tried to post this on...michael's comment blog...but it did not show up...
i'm not an expert...AT ALL.........on computer stuff

um, glad to send stamps or poems or sample reviews or 'mail-art'.or just a happy helloooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

let me know!!!!!!!!!

tim scannell
21 kruse road
port angeles, WA

Anonymous Poet said...


This is wonderful. A poignant and universal sentiment. I agree with Liam's comment on the row boat simile.

Here, you add a subtle stylization to what might otherwise be a prosaic narrative. (What Cate describes as you being "elegant"). You walk a fine line. And you do it well. I think some writers attempt what you have done here, but it comes out as a plain narrative or as a journal entry. Not as poetry.

Also re "foment", check out: Maybe you'll be able to use it in a poem or song some day.

Lorena said...

"Am I the same person?
Or am I someone else,
who has wandered into the story
by mistake?"

i love this poem. it's very thought-provoking and sad.

transience said...

like lorena, i love the last verse. it makes me think that maybe existence is fluid, and we pass through it, and through other people's lives as if there were no barriers. great poem, roger!

michael said...

As a lopsidey mouthed, grey and thinning 58 year old who often look in windows and mirrors and grimaces and sees my father looking back at me this poem resonates for me too.

Your comment did show up Tim - a little late but they do that sometimes. Sneaky these comments!

Roger Stevens said...

Wow! What lovely comments - better than I expected I have to say. And a few things to think about, too.
I'll get back to everyone later. Gotta work now and I'm a tad weary, having stayed up late for the election results.


Mystique said...

This poem hits me deep and I love it. I really can't describe how it makes me feel, but it makes me feel, and that is a fabulous thing.

Roger Stevens said...

Tim - I used top collect stamps but not really any more. I collected stamps with a space theme. Lots of pictures of Sputnik One and Yuri Gagarin.
My father was a keen philatelist. He worked at Stanley Gibbons for a while.

Those were the days...

Ostrich said...

"How I smiled at my reflection,
noting my bulbous nose
and long sideburns
framing my generous face,
a smile that said
You are one cool dude
and you know you are?"

- :) Lovely poem dear. That verse made me smile. I can just imagine you doing that.

michael said...

Stanley Stamp's Gibbon catalogue?

Russell Ragsdale said...

Elegant is probably the best way to put this although, at my age, rumination always seems to be heading in a somewhat threadbare direction! I enjoyed this very much, Roger!

Everybody seems to have found the major visual focus:the welcome aboard smile but the thing I liked the most was the nature of the shift in intensity from the younger to the older reflection. I thought this was a rather honest tone observation.

You're quite good at good natured and humorous but I can see you have a talent in this direction as well!

Sunshine Coyote said...

Gorgeous! I've returned from the lost reaches of cyberspace to find fine verse. Ahhhh....

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

Lovely poem, brings back many of those changes you assend without knowing. I remember the first time a little child called me that lady, I looked all round to see who she meant, I was only fourteen.

Syl said...

You are STILL one cool dude, Roger. In less than one year I see such growth...not on yer head, mind you! I think what I like so much about this particular poem is that you make honest observations about changes...still find a likeable chap in the reflection...then get on it! Hooray that the music is coming a copy! Cheers then.

floots said...

I got here late and it's been said. I loved it.

Roger Stevens said...

The very same, Michael.
My father worked in the postal ephemera department.

Roger Stevens said...

Good to see you back, Sunshine.
So - are you really pregnant? Is that really you?
A simple yes will suffice.

Fab paintings, stories and verse. But no space for comments?

Amie said...

this is really a very very nice poem. i like it. ooops i cut and paste it for my own personal collection only.

side burns? you had one before?

btw Wonky Finger band's name is great!

eden said...

very nice poem! i love it :)

michael said...

This would explain a lot. Your dad working in the postal ephemera section of Stanly Gibbons I mean. its obviously in the genes!
Not sure where i got my genes from. I seems to have skipped a few generations.

longblackveil said...

a beauteous.
you are one cool dude
and you know you are?

Shubhodeep said...

brilliant blog...i'll enjoy going through your blog in the next few days or hours prehaps...really good work!!!

Cocaine Jesus said...

Oi Roger,

Not wanting to sound like a senile version of Oliver but . . . more please! (poetry that is)

jadedprimadonna said...

Great poem, filled with so much reality. I shouldn't be this way, but I hate when someone mistakes me for my mom at a family reunion. She's not an unattractive woman; it's just I don't want to become my mom. I think just about anyone over 30 could relate to this poem.

Nicki said...

Wanted to send a comment for the Train Conversation but new to all this! Anyway, really enjoying your poems - they have reminded me that words aren't just for filling in crosswords. Thank you.

Roger Stevens said...

Thanks Nicki.

michael said...

Don't forget the Ivor Cutler. I was just chatting to my "little" brother on the phone. he said there was agood Eric Clapton doc. on BBC 4 the other evening followed by a prog about somew bluesman Johnson? Robert Johnson, who died quite young. They say he made a pact with the devil. Eric played some of his songs. Did you see that?