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The Other Side of a Mirror

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Written by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

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 I sat before my glass one day, 
And conjured up a vision bare, 
Unlike the aspects glad and gay, 
That erst were found reflected there - 
The vision of a woman, wild 
With more than womanly despair.
Her hair stood back on either side A face bereft of loveliness.
It had no envy now to hide What once no man on earth could guess.
It formed the thorny aureole Of hard, unsanctified distress.
Her lips were open - not a sound Came though the parted lines of red, Whate'er it was, the hideous wound In silence and secret bled.
No sigh relieved her speechless woe, She had no voice to speak her dread.
And in her lurid eyes there shone The dying flame of life's desire, Made mad because its hope was gone, And kindled at the leaping fire Of jealousy and fierce revenge, And strength that could not change nor tire.
Shade of a shadow in the glass, O set the crystal surface free! Pass - as the fairer visions pass - Nor ever more return, to be The ghost of a distracted hour, That heard me whisper: - 'I am she!'


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