A Poem, A Class and A Connection

This summer I am taking part in the Fox Valley Writing Project’s Invitational Summer Institute. It’s a great opportunity for me, and I am super excited to be a part of it.

Last Saturday, during the orientation, one of the instructors shared the book The Best Part of Me, which is a wonderful book about body image, self esteem and diversity. In the book, children responded to the question, “What is the best part of you?” Some of their responses made me laugh heartily. Some brought tears to my eyes. All responses made me think deeply.

And the funny, ironic thing is, that last week, I shared the poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams with my 6th grade ELA classes. We used it to create our own “So much depends upon…”  poems. Since that time I had been tossing around an idea in my head.  Saturday’s class provided the perfect opporunity to put it all together.

So here it is…


“The Image in the Mirror”

Inspired by “The Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams


So much

depends upon the image


in the mirror.


When compared to

a supermodel,

an actress,

an athlete…

the reflection

is a source of disappointment,

a source of shame,

a source of pain.


The clavicle,

the ribs,

the ilium…

not prominent enough.


The cheeks,

the breasts,

the buttocks…

too full.


The abdomen,

the biceps,

the quadriceps…

too soft.






judging the image


in the mirror.


Why does it matter?

Why is it so important,

when the image

of others






It’s their thoughts,

their dreams,

their successes,

their fears,

their failures…

that’s what matters.




they really are.


Am I afraid

to share

who I am with others?


Is that why

my self-worth

is so intertwined

with the image

reflected in the mirror?



it’s not the image in the mirror that

so much depends



but rather

the self acceptance

 of the person

looking in the mirror.


Karen Hovie



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s