Man in the Mirror Poem (By Dale Wimbrow)
The poem The Guy in the Glass is sometimes wrongly known as ‘The Man in the Mirror Poem’ and ‘The Man in the Glass Poem.’ During his lifetime, the poet was well-known for his work in music and radio.
Man in the Mirror Poem
The poem is addressed to everybody who is living and reading or hearing it. The speaker encourages the listener to remember that they are the only ones whose opinion truly counts throughout their lives.
When things are going well, it is critical to glance in the mirror and attempt to comprehend how that “fellow” views things. If one is in tune with their conscience, they may live life freely and joyously.
He examines topics of self-perception and the purpose of life in this poetry.
The Man in the Mirror
When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.
For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear up to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.
by Dale Wimbrow
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Structure of the Man in the Mirror
The Man in the Mirror by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr. is a four-stanza poem divided into four-line groups known as quatrains.
These quatrains use an ABAB CDCD rhyme pattern, with the end sounds shifting from stanza to stanza.
The lines are almost the same length, but there is no consistent metrical pattern that runs across them all. Wimbrow’s poetry is written in simple language, making it accessible to a wide range of people.
When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.
The speaker opens the opening verse of The Man in the Mirror by setting up a scene. This scenario is aimed at all readers, anybody who has achieved success and become “king for a day.”
The speaker requests that you, the successful one, go to the mirror and study what “man has to say.” This is a beautiful way of inviting the reader to look in the mirror, and therefore into their heart, and ask whether everything is in order.
In line one, there is an example of sibilance with “battle” and “self,” and Wimbrow also establishes an extensive metaphor comparing one’s reflection to their conscience.
For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
The speaker explains in the second verse that the only person whose judgment is truly significant is the person in the mirror.
To determine if they’re on the correct track, the reader must rely on their reflection as a portal to their conscience. You must “pass” the “fellow’s” judgment in the mirror.
Wimbrow utilizes words like “verdict” and “judgment” from judicial processes to depict what it’s like to study one’s life in this stanza.
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He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.
The speaker further describes the “fellow” in the mirror in the third stanza of The Man in the Mirror. He is “with you till the end.”
The first sentence is an example of caesura. It highlights the significance of this man’s opinion throughout the remainder of one’s life.
With the “guy in the glass is your friend,” the reader will know they’ve succeeded. This is an intriguing usage of personification in which the reflection may pass judgment on the reader/person looking in the mirror and can become kind or unfriendly.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
The speaker closes the fourth stanza of The Man in the Mirror by noting that it is simple to “fool the whole world,” but it is hard to mislead oneself.
There will always be the “guy in the glass” to keep oneself accountable. The speaker is implying that it is not worth it to float through life only to find at the end that you have “cheated” yourself.
This verse has examples of alliteration such as “whole globe” and “route,” “pats,” and “pass.”
Poetic Techniques in the Man in the Mirror
Wimbrow employs a number of poetic devices in The Man in the Mirror. Alliteration, caesura, sibilance, and personification are examples of these.
This happens when words are spoken in sequence, or when they are near together and start with the same sound.
In the first stanza, for example, “mirror” and “man” in lines three and four, and “mother,” “must,” and “most” in stanza two.
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This is related to alliteration, except it focuses on soft vowel sounds like “s” and “th.” This type of repetition frequently produces a protracted hissing or rushing sound.
It is frequently used to imitate another sound, such as water, wind, or any type of fluid movement. For example, “battle” and “self” in the first stanza’s first line.
This happens when a line is cut in half, sometimes with punctuation and sometimes without. The use of punctuation in these places provides a deliberate stop in the text.
A reader should analyze how the pause affects their reading pace and how it may anticipate a significant shift or transition in the text.
There are multiple examples in this song, such as line one of the third stanza, “He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the others.”
This happens when a poet bestows human traits on a non-human creature or thing. Wimbrow personifies one’s reflection in this scenario.
Giving it the capacity to judge the spectator and determine whether to be friendly or distant.
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