When I look into a mirror
It is her I see
Reflected in the silvered glass,
A voice, a pallid countenance
Held within a prison of polished crystal,
The grey luminance of eyes
Staring directly into mine,
Distant, yet closer than the whisper of my breath.
A pale woman.

She wears her hair dark,
Sometimes light,
But the face is unchanging—I know it well,
Lovely as May blossoms,
Wise as the sea,
Features rising like pillars of white marble
From the sunlit hills of Greece,
Enclosing a beauty and knowing
More ancient than man,
Stern and sorrowful,
Gaze filled with omen and dread prophecy.
All who live and die
Are known to her, this pale woman.

It is as if I'm standing by the shore of a placid lake
Staring into the ichor of her dreams
And beneath the surface
The same mournful grey eyes
Tell me she is alone in these waters.
The hint of a smile flickers
At the meeting of our eyes
Then vanishes with the knowing—
I am bound to the land,
And may never know her kiss.

And yet, a thought passes between us,
Something frightening, yet filled with wonder,
The pull of two magnetic poles
Which, though a part of the same entity,
Are constrained by inexplicable forces to remain
Two divided selves,
Drawn by longing together
Yet eternally apart.
Shatter, cruel glass!
Deliver her to me
From your crystal dungeon,
That I may offer myself to her as consort,
And ascend with her to a kingdom among the clouds.

Shiver, cold pane!
That we may cease our restless motion
And join at last in the serenity of oneness!
The poles united, the question answered—
The end to all questions...

But behind the scattered shards,
A single sigh
Swells forth on a breath of wind
And fades slowly into silence
Like the peal of bells from a distant spire
Into the wide emptiness of the valley.

George Chadderdon © 1993