In this poem, Sakaki, a Japanese poet, writes about transcending the boundaries of age and time and uniting with the wholeness of nature. His language, while spare, is also refreshingly accessible, and he does not write in a formal way.
The poem begins with his regarding himself in the mirror, while he makes funny, vernacular asides, such as "What a pity." The poem starts with a story—an older man regarding himself and his gray hair and wrinkles. The narrator feels distanced from himself. He feels so distanced that he refers to himself as "he," speaking in the third person.
With the alliterative line "land and life" (alliteration involves the repetition of the initial sounds of words), the poet launches into the part of the poem that deals with the transcendent parts of life and nature. He recounts times that he has spent in nature, including sleeping in the desert with stars. These are moments in which he has joined with nature and has transcended the everyday experience of life and felt freed from time. He also includes his experiences protesting against nuclear war, as these experiences connect him with something that transcends the everyday.
After recounting these experiences, he feels young again. He says that he is seventeen. When he begins meditating, his innermost voice tells him to "break the mirror." Breaking the mirror represents his freeing himself from the boundaries and limits of time to reach something more transcendent and timeless, such as the beauties and truths of nature.
While the poem tells a story, it also tells, in lines that are taut but that have deeper meaning, of larger, more important truths. The poet uses the moment of leaving the shower to launch into a broader, deeper conversation about his connection with timelessness and nature. He finds that by recalling his connection with nature, he can reverse the clock and feel free of the passage of time.