Mirror (Romanian translation)
The mirror doesn't change what it shows you based on it's understanding of who you are, or whether you're having a bad day or a good day – it just shows what it sees.
- Whatever you see I swallow immediately:
We think of what mirrors do to everything they see – they reflect it. Swallowing everything, then, is a metaphor for reflecting everything.
- Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.:
This line is giving us more information about how the mirror is swallowing what it sees, while also confirming what we already know from the first line: that the mirror is exact and has no preconceptions.
- a little god:
Notice that the word "god" isn't capitalized in this line: it could refer to any god.
Indeed, the mirror is getting a little high and mighty here, saying that it's powerful. It's also saying something about what it thinks a god is like – not cruel, but truthful.
The god's eye is "four-cornered" (square or rectangular) helps us complete – in a concise and graceful way – the image of the eye in the shape of a mirror.
- I meditate on the opposite wall.:
This line tells us in a roundabout way what the mirror is facing: a wall.
- It is pink, with speckles.:
The wall is speckled and pink.
- I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part ...:
The mirror tells us about its connection to the wall. Using enjambment, a literary device where a thought is split between two lines, the mirror tells us that it has looked at this wall for so long that it feels like the wall is a part of its heart.
- But it flickers.:
At the end of the eighth line, we see that the relationship between the wall and the mirror isn't as constant as we thought: the wall flickers.
- Faces and darkness separate us over and over.:
The faces come to look in the mirror, and when they leave, they turn the light off, leaving the mirror to reflect nothing but the darkness.
- separate us over and over:
The way Plath has structured this line makes us think that the mirror must be sad at this separation. We'd think that these two lines were part of a love poem from person to her beloved, and not from a mirror to a wall.
- Now I am a lake.:
We're now no longer hearing from a mirror, but from a lake. Yet Plath is conscious of this change – it sets it up with the word "now."
- A woman bends over me,:
Whether or not this lake is the same at heart as the mirror, the poem moves on to show what the lake is reflecting: a woman.
- for what she really is.:
But the woman isn't only trying to see the reflection of her face; she's hoping to see something deeper: what she really is.
- those liars, the candles or the moon.:
The lake calls candles and the moon liars, because their light can warp sight, often hiding people's blemishes and making them appear more beautiful.
- She rewards me with tears and an agitation of ...:
This line shows that the woman is anxious to find what she's looking for – as the lake told us earlier, she's not satisfied with the lake at first glance, but eventually turns back to it.
Can be worry and anxiety
- In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an ...:
In these two lines, drowning and rising in the lake metaphorically describe aging.
- Rises toward her day after day:
Also in the lake, an old woman rises up – but again, we don't think this is an actual old woman in the lake. Instead, the woman's reflection is changing and aging. She sees herself growing into an old woman.
- a terrible fish:
This old woman is like a "terrible fish," which brings the lake metaphor full circle and gives us a ghastly image of what this young woman has turned into: something as ugly as a fish.