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1 The Mirror

Mirror 1‘LOOK BOTH WAYS before you cross yourself. Gaze first at the hills in the picture
and then at the picture made by the hills.’

Eureka! The crackpot scientist brandishes his formula: seven shards of
light at right angles to flowing water. Only by running around the back of
his mind could he take his panoptic self-portrait. Each morning he checks
deep into the corners for stowaways. In the green tank hangs a fish
shimmering beyond the reach of artifice, waiting to regain its soul shape.

1st – The Mirror of Illusion
Despite global axes we relate to an object locally. Up and down are the
same in both systems. Rotation is a fiction of our body’s left-right
symmetry. Raise your north hand: your reflection does the same. Right and
left; cardinal points. The mirror’s strangeness is down to language.

2nd – The Mirror of Beauty
The frame’s wrinkles accumulate a detritus of process, drifting like sand.
The eye, trained in compassion, smiles at beauty tiptoeing inwards, the
seasons truthfully turning. What’s seen can never be unseen; what’s stale
can never be fresh again. Entropy: a new cream for rejuvenating the mind.

3rd – The Accidental Mirror
It’s perilous in the urban battlefield: you catch yourself out in a fusillade
of light, a stranger suddenly revealed as your surrogate, caught unawares.
Your mind is clouds around disfiguring lightning. There’s a rip in the
camouflage net of the high street – instantly mended and forgotten.

4th – The Forsaken Mirror
It’s obvious, you can’t stay inside yourself all day, polishing your axioms.
Time-limit your reflection. Self-regard is a gateway, like having to undress
behind a bush before swimming. Don the silver head-wings. Spread them
in the threat position if you must. Then relax into the self-created dream.

5th – The Mermaid’s Mirror
The comb and mirror are vital: what else could she do with her hands?
Metamorphosis travels upwards from the tail fin to the intertidal zone of
the midriff. A schoolgirl in mermaid costume, perched on a rock for the
prince’s helicopter fly-past, evaluates the fading love bite on her neck.

6th – The Rearview Mirror
The mirror is always our guardian, our third eye, as when a bear obscures
the sun behind us while we drink from the pond, or when a new lover
looms, his chest a rampant creeper, hands outstretched to settle on your
shoulders. How else control the rebellious third child at the family table?

All six – The Cosmic Mirror
There’s a personal flow and there’s a cosmic order. The salmon may be
landed in its ladder or loved in the arc of its exuberance. Think of the self,
analogous. The orchestra’s finest moment is the point of break-up. The toyless
pram, marooned in the street, overflows with musical tears.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos



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