Reflected Glory

By Peter Halstead

I repeat myself, the way that sky
Appears again in ponds, or the eye

Bounces off a mirror like a cat,
The very picture of what it’s looking at;

The way a room is xeroxed by the bubbles
Which soap produces when it doubles.

Productive sud, to show us what we like
(You’ve seen the mirror in Van Eyck

That shows the victim’s point of view:
The way a footprint looks to dew,

The way a painting looks to paint?)
Our bubble captures every feint,

And twists the room up like a map,
The way that cameras trap

The soul by seeing it, or that statues
Cheapen us because they reproduce.

We should be flattered that a force so great
Thinks us good enough to duplicate

(Or is the urge to copy us so crude
It only wants us in the nude)?

Or perhaps this sudden interest means
That nature likes its pictures clean.

When our ship comes in, the hour
Finds us dirty in the shower.

So while the halo of the soap is on us,
Best not think ourselves Adonis:

While some of us is one part sun,
We hardly profit one by one:

We sparkle more in groups of three,
Reflected in facsimile.

To find our icons in the grass,
Imagine John the Baptist stained with glass—

Not every face of a cathedral
Need aspire to the steeple—

It should be more than adequate to grope
For a byline in the soap.