looking into the mirror
of many years ago
and wishing to speak
so the words would be different
This poem is about the idea of a person talking to their past self. It is based off of the thought that people sometimes have where they wonder what they would tell their past self so that their current life would be different than it is.
In the poem, the person is looking at a photograph of themselves. The photograph is “the mirror of many years ago” in the poem. When a person looks at a photograph of themselves, it is like they are looking into a mirror, except the image is from the past.
As the person looks at themselves, they wish they could give their past self advice (and wishing to speak). They want to give their past self advice so that their current situation would be different. In other words, they would tell their past self to make different decisions than they themselves actually did.
If the person were able to do this, and their past self took the advice, then they would be currently living a different life. If that were so, the words they would say to their past self when they look at their photograph would be different than the words that they said at this time (so the words would be different). They wouldn’t be giving their past self advice, at least they hope, rather they would be telling their past self that they made the right decisions.
This poem is about looking back on the past and wishing it were somehow different.