I love sharing Sylvia Plath’s “The Mirror” (without its title) or Emily Dickinson’s “I like to see it lap the miles” with my middle school students because they love the idea of poem as riddle. We usually read once through, then start going line by line until they each have a guess. After revealing the “answers,” we look at the poems again to see how each writer built her details and extended metaphors.
The speaker in each of these poems gives the reader clues as to what it might be, but (aside from Plath’s title) never comes right out and actually states its identity. There are differences between the two poems. Plath does give her readers the title, and she writes in first person as the mirror. Dickinson speaks about the train and writes in first person as herself seeing the object.
For today’s prompt, choose something that is either common in your everyday life, like Plath’s mirror, or some novel new piece of technology, like Dickinson’s train. Then try to write about it in a somewhat cryptic way.