Poems on HIV/AIDS: Stranger in the Mirror of My Life

UPDATE NOVEMBER 24, 2013:

Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS is now out! To buy the book, simply click the linked title above, or go to the online bookstore directly!

OVER A YEAR AGO…

…with over half of the collection of poems on HIV/AIDS completed, ‘Stranger in the Mirror and Other Poems’ (now Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS!) promises to be an engaging piece…


‘Stranger in the Mirror and Other Poems’
, (now Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS!) a work in progress by Senator Ihenyen, the author of ‘Colourless Rainbow’ has been described by him as his “most creatively challenging and engaging work yet!” In the next few months, as we approach December 1, the World AIDS Day, you will continue to be updated on the progress being made on the work.

According to the Nigerian author, one great challenging and engaging task is attempting to strike an appealing balance between the art in the poetry and the heart of the message!”

While work is in progress, some of the poems in the proposed ‘Stranger in the Mirror and Other Poems’ (now Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS! would be posted on this blog from time to time.

Meanwhile, published below are few of the completed pieces. Some of them have been published by the author on the Internet. They represent the voices behind the silence, the faces behind the figures, the feelings behind the facts. The hope and despair, love and hate, acceptance and discrimination. These poems are voices against HIV/AIDS, fighting with their lives not to become or remain a stranger in the mirror of their own very lives.

Senator Ihenyen, the author, is always happy to hear from you! Your comments and feedback would be gladly received. Keep them coming!

Some of the Poems

Stranger in the Mirror of My Life

Before me is a mirror
A mirror beside my bed
Away from the sun burning brightly
Outside the window’s blinds in my darksome room

For a moment
Before the mirror
I stand to see the face of the victim
Whose result returned a death sentence
After a test
And another test and yet another
But they kept coming back
One and the same
Like the torrent of tears that keep returning to your eyes
When the heart remains wet with worries

Wavering worries of one’s life walking away from the door,
As the wall clock ticks unrestrained,
Untouched, unconcerned,
Like the footsteps of the world around you moving on,
Unaffected, unmoved, unstirred.

In the mirror
I found a face
A certain face too afraid to look at me.
The face of a stranger –
A strange face sketched in the shadows of my unlit room
Against the fiery fingers of the sun
Flicking the window’s blinds on a fateful morning
To irradiate my day

I know this face hiding in the mirror isn’t me –
It couldn’t be me!
I look straight into her eyes,
It was then she looked back at me –
Petrified, she crept back into the closet of her life.

I walk slowly and gently towards her,
Suddenly the stranger steps closer and closer towards me.
And when my feet froze on the floor
Upon the freezing fear that gripped me,
The stranger in the mirror startles –
Faint-hearted, intimidated

This stranger is not me
No, not me!
She is just a shadow –
The shadow of someone too locked-up in her closet to open up to me.
She is a stranger too steeped in shame to stand up to herself
And say:

“I’m Hannah,
I’m HIV positive –
How beautiful life could be
When I open the window’s blinds in my heart
And let the rays of the sun
Overshadow the stranger in the mirror of my life.”

The Mirror is the Eyes of the World around You

We were best of friends, Sam and me.
Dreams of childhood, memories of old age –
He was a fine fellow.

In his last moments with us
Lying on his dying bed that early morning
Death-rattle in his dying throat ticking like a death-watch beetle
Death-wish without more on his yellow fungus lips

There comes a time in your life
When in your need to find answers
To questions that make you quiver,
You turn to the mirrors around you.
When in those mirrors come nothing but reflections of a forlorn life
Fear of the unknown grips you
Substance slowly gives way to shadows.
Falling like feathers from the ruffled wings of dying dreams
In the strangulating hold of something you must fight,
You just want to let go.
It was no different for Sam.

Sometimes such mirrors in your life
Are not the ones hanging on the wall in your room
They are not the glasses made of silica you could break against the wall
And walk away to look into the mirror inside you,
But in the eyes of the world around you

Is It Because…

…you did not kiss my hand
Like you use to
When with so much love in my heart
I held it up to your lips
Your eyes gazing at mine
As we drink heart-to-heart –

Is it because
Because I am now positive
Or you never really
Loved me?

When you poured the red wine
Into the glasses
You did not hold yours
To my waiting lips
Like you use to
So that as transparent as the two glasses
We could see the colours in our hearts –

Is it because
Because I am now positive
Or you never really
Loved me?

(c)senatorihenyen2013Culled from the forthcoming collection, Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS!, these poems are subject to copyright protection. Author’s permission is to be sought where the use of any of the poems printed here or anywhere on this blog is intended. You’re always welcome to contact the author here.

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11 thoughts on “Poems on HIV/AIDS: Stranger in the Mirror of My Life

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate your comment on my poetry. I’m happy you could connect with the voice in my work. The HIV/AIDS poems I write is part of a project of mine, using poetry to stimulate new awareness that shows care for the feelings of people living with HIV/AIDS. It’s great to see that you’ve responded positively to the lines in my poetry. Although I’m negative, I feel the pain others who are positive feel.

  2. I came across your poems while trying to get inspiration to write about AIDS for a health article. A particular part of “Stranger in the Mirror of My Life” (“For a moment / Before the mirror / I stand to see the face of the victim / Whose result returned a death sentence / After a test / And another test and yet another / But they kept coming back / One and the same / Like the torrent of tears that keep returning to your eyes / When the heart remains wet with worries”) moved me while at the same time made me pause to reflect on the message. I felt the hair on my arms stand up, and I felt the pain and desolation of someone who had just been diagnosed with the disease.

    I have read a lot about AIDS because of my profession, but I have honestly only encountered a couple of patients. Your poem made me feel how it is to be diagnosed with the disease, and how it could be so devastating.

    Sir, thank you very much for this poem, and thank you for inspiring me not just to write a health article, but also to empathize as a fellow human being.

  3. Evening.

    I am surprised that the is someone out there who can be so beautifully creative and poetic about the deadly invincible traitor (HIV/AIDS). Thank you very much for inspiring me and tomorrow i am performing something about HIV/AIDS and i did not have anything to write.
    I am good to go!!!!
    MORE FIRE!!!

    • You’re welcome Lesego. It’s great to know you find my poetry inspiring. I’m happy you got the inspiration you needed to put up a fine performance. Thanks for dropping by. Do visit again.

  4. Hello,

    Firstly I would like to say these poems are amazing! Is it possible if I could read one of them for an event, World HIV/AIDS day in Australia, obviously your name will be credited.

    Thank you and I look forward to reading more of your work.

    • Hello Golda,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m happy you enjoyed reading these poems. Please, you have permission to read any of the poems in the event. Author acknowledgment would be just fine. You may let me know how the event went after. And perhaps, I should let you know that the complete collection, “Stranger in the Mirror of My Life’ containing all of my poems on HIV/AIDS will be available in ebook format later in November on Amazon.com. I will keep you posted. Thanks for visiting.

  5. My 1ste time visiting this site and I must say sir…your poems is amazing..I love it..its so heartmoving..its really amazing

  6. I‘m delighted to let my readers and blog visitors out there know that my collection of poems predominantly on HIV/AIDS has been completed. You‘ll find posts on the forthcoming book on this blog. Thanks for all the encouragements these past years while the work was in progress!

Thanks for visiting my blog! You can be sure I'll get back to you in no time. You're always welcome around here! Senator Ihenyen Author

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