poetry friday

A cat                       Incomplete:
without                  A chair
a chair:                   without
Incomplete.           a cat.

This tiny poem is called a reverso by Marilyn Singer.  “When you read a reverso down, it is one poem.  When you read it up, with changes allowed only in punctuation and capitalization it is a different poem,” she says in her note about these highly-imaginative creations.  She has invented 14 of these, all with fairy tale themes, in her clever, clever book Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse,  illustrated by Josee Masse.  Each reverso is printed side by side so we can see their mirrored reflections of one another. 

 Here is her imaginative spin on the Rumplestiltskin tale. (I am having trouble formatting it nicely on my blog!  T hey look much nicer, obviously, in the book!)

                               Do You Know My Name?

Do you know my name?                            My foolish self —
Think of straw turned to gold.                  a girl
In this story.                                             by greed
I am                                                            betrayed.
famous                                                       I am liked,
but not                                                      but not
liked.                                                         famous.
I am                                                           I am
betrayed                                                  in this story.
by greed,                                                 Think of straw turned to gold.
a girl,                                                         Do you know my name?
my foolish self.

Clever, eh?  Can you imagine how tricky they are to concoct?  The illustrations done by Josee Masse are colorful, brilliant, jewel-like paintings which are constructed in mirrored, topsy-turvy fashion as well in order to be compatible with this fanciful poetry.  Check this one out, and then attempt a reverso yourselves!