David Lewis Paget
The Reflection in the Pool
I’d hidden away the mirrors
Packed them up and sent them off,
Taken the shine off the saucepan lids,
Sandpapered the coffee pot,
Everything that reflected I’d
Sand-blast, like the sliding doors,
Even got rid of the polisher
For shining the wooden floors.
It was very like narcolepsy when
She saw her face on a plate,
She’d go in a trance and sit for hours
In a crazy, dreamlike state,
I’d take away the reflection and
She’d sit and weep for hours,
‘You’ve taken away my beauty, ’ she
Would say, and take cold showers.
It seemed like a terrible sickness that
She loved her looks so much,
She’d say, ‘If you won’t let me see myself,
I’ll just make do with touch, ’
She’d run her fingers over her face
Explore each crease and mound,
And sigh to her satisfaction as
She felt her lips turn down.
I couldn’t get rid of the garden pool
That flowed on in from the brook,
Babbling over the standing stones
From the woods at Nether Hook,
I’d catch her kneeling beside the pool
And staring into its depths,
Smiling at each reflection that
Would ripple with every breath.
‘Beware of the evil Water Sprite, ’
I told her more than once,
‘He takes advantage of lovely girls
For he hates to be outdone.
He’ll lure you into a shady pool
With guile, and his tender lies
And hold you down ‘til you surely drown,
You’ll avoid him, if you’re wise.’
She told me then of a vision that
She’d seen, that of a prince,
He’d smiled at her from the water but
She hadn’t seen him since.
‘That’s not a prince but the Water Sprite
And he’s trying to lure you down,
To put your face to the water, but
I’ve told you once, you’ll drown.’
The water was babbling gently on
A sunny day in Spring,
In shades of the weeping myrtles and
The sound of cuckooing,
Miranda was knelt beside the pool
And I saw her head go down,
When claws reached out of the water
Pulled her in, without a sound.
I raced across and I seized her hair
And I pulled her from the pool,
But claws had raked at her pretty face,
She said, ‘I feel a fool!
I should have listened to you, I know
But I thought that just one kiss…’
But he had turned to a monster and
Had bitten her rose red lips.
I put the mirrors all back in place
And I bought new shiny pans,
Polished the floor, you can see your face
But she hides behind her hands,
She never looks in a mirror now
Though her scars are healed and white,
But goes each day to poison the pool
To kill off the Water Sprite.
25 November 2013
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