you have steered
my light off its path
& separated it
into broken, shining ribbons

the colors are beautiful
but if I follow this bent beam
I will be lost forever
to your prismatic vision
that does not see the whole
only the spectrum that suits
your desires of the moment

better to keep whole,
retrieve & revive the self
that knows its own form,
& trajectory

shining & unfiltered
both particle & wave,
an equal radiance

***The mirror poem was for Nancy, who inspired it.  This one is for my co-creator and friend, Noel, who suggested that a mirror was perhaps not the best image to explore pathology with, and to try out the idea of prisms.  What do you guys think?

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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24 Responses to prism

  1. Ian Moone says:


    shining & unfiltered
    both particle & wave,
    an equal radiance

    Loving that part, science and poetry dancing hand in hand

  2. George Ellington says:

    An equal radiance. Yes.

  3. Again and again, Susan,you keep coming up with these winners. This is strong. The voice is angry and accusatory and the self is asserted and reasserted…and we see the beginnings of the reclaiming of personal autonomy, the right to self define and the right to the undivided self, the whole self, the pure self, with its curves, bumps, stomps and kinks, highs and lows, not filtered, not fragmented. This is a strong poem by a great poet!
    I get far more credit than I deserve for this wonderful poem – but again what does one expect from a great poet and a generous mind/soul who has enriched mine with her friendship?

    • Thanks so much, Noel. Glad you liked this, since your suggestion led me to it–I would never have thought of prisms without you–so you get the credit. Speaking of enrichment–I am equally (if not more) blessed to have met a poet with an unbelievably strong, intuitive, beautiful voice who also possesses generosity of spirit, all wrapped in a gentle humility–so we both win 🙂

  4. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    I think the mirror approach is a very good one and I am sure that the possibilities for it are immense. I especially like the “prism” approach that you are using here because it makes me think of physics, of the night sky, of outer space and the cosmos, etc.

    I associate the prism with something slightly different than the mirror. To me the angularity of prisms is different from the flatness of mirrors. I think the reason I see it this was was my father gave me a prism when I was a child and it was triangular whereas our bathroom mirror was flat. So, it just goes to show how certain experiences become “fixed.”

    I think there is a lot that can be done with the mirror idea because “reflections” appear in everything.

    • Jeremy–yes! I wanted to see if poetry and physics could work well together, and really enjoyed your comments above! Well said.

      • Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

        I wish I knew more of physics because I sense -as you do- that there is much there to work with.

        • Yes, & I have only my one or two classes to draw from, shame. I am thinking about this piece, which marries poetry & physics; your post yesterday which had it alongside philosophy, and my post (?) last week, where I used math–perhaps we can find it weaving through every discipline, if we look for it.

          • Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

            I agree. I think what we are talking about is an attempt to take in the whole and it makes sense to me that philosophy, science and poetry would be conversant with one another because each are attempts to contemplate wholeness by looking at particulars. At least I think so. And each has its own language to master. I know from reading some of Noam Chomsky (who is a linguist by training) that language is one of the defining attributes of the human species. To engage with the world is to try and produce language. I just like the thought that language is an embodied phenomenon and it is not the property of human beings alone.

  5. nelle says:

    I love colours-play in writing. Enjoyed!

  6. Deborah Avila says:

    I have the most vivid picture in my mind! A perfect symbiotic play of words! Thank you ~ Debbie

  7. Rhonda says:

    I love it. Noel’s suggestion changes the image and emotion…as Jeremy says the mirror is flat and reflects what it see, the prism refracts and changes the perspective and the color and tone. Beautifully done and inspired!

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