It is not the least ingenuous to say
He had no idea who he saw that day
When he stopped to rest by pretty pool
And lost his heart in its rippling surface
Looking back from this end of time
It’s fair to ask “how could that be?”
But two thousand years had yet to pass
Before the arts of metal or of glass
Could perfect a reflecting surface.
So his own image he could only glean
As capricious undulations on blade or shield
Or as depicted by the imperfect arts;
But not as now with the force of light.
We reading back with our assumptions
At times seems quite unfair to me:
A complex web of strange projections,
But I see revealed in it an irony.
That as author of our ego’s love of self
Should be one as confused as we are
About what image a reflection brings;
And just as he did not know himself reflected
Reflection seldom helps us find the self we seek.