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Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

111. Ernest Hyde

MY mind was a mirror:

It saw what it saw, it knew what it knew.

In youth my mind was just a mirror

In a rapidly flying car,

Which catches and loses bits of the landscape.

Then in time

Great scratches were made on the mirror,

Letting the outside world come in,

And letting my inner self look out.

For this is the birth of the soul in sorrow,

A birth with gains and losses.

The mind sees the world as a thing apart,

And the soul makes the world at one with itself.

A mirror scratched reflects no image—

And this is the silence of wisdom.