Household Faces

I shall return.
You shall wake up.

In the bedroom of our rented house, there’s a face that greets me every morning. No, I don’t mean the Big Guy’s: I mean the face in the ceiling above the bed. Two big eyebrows, slatted eyes, shallow nostrils, and a wee MacArthur pipe sticking out of the corner of the rosebud mouth. Anyway, when taking the photo I found that the face is easier to see from slightly in front of it rather than looking straight up at it.

Face in ceiling grate

There’s another face that I see most easily in the bathroom mirror of our rented house. No, I don’t mean mine: I mean the face over my shoulder created by certain angles of light through the glass bricks above the tub. There’s something about the reflection that strips out some of the complexity or detail, making the shape easier to see that way. But check it out for yourself with some straight-on photos.

2-photo collage of face in glass blocks

The colour assist helps a bit, maybe. For sure it heightens the leonine resemblance. I mean, that square nose and slanted eyes and cheek bones are definitely cat-like, no? And of course that reminded me of a song from my childhood.


To my ear, the traditional version by Miriam Makeba doesn’t present that iconic cry (a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh) quite as clearly as The Tokens gave it to us in 1961. Or as this one-person quartet does. Or even as Pat and Stanley do. The westernized versions of the song seem to strip out some of the verbal nuance of the traditional version (even when rendered in English, not Zulu), giving my western ears a simpler and more understandable sequence of syllables.

Looking at the photo again, though, maybe the face is more panther-like. A Black Panther, perhaps? To my aging ears the admittedly distinctive soundtrack of that movie doesn’t offer anything quite as hum-able or sing-along-able as The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

Panther face in glass blocks

And I guess if I had looked longer I might have seen the Sphinx, which would have let me link to Steve Martin’s magnum opus: King Tut. Oh well, maybe next time.


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8 Responses to Household Faces

  1. Tom Watson says:

    Faces, faces everywhere, and nary a one to…I dunno…talk.

  2. Alison Uhrbach says:

    I see the lion 🙂 and can sing along with the song

  3. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – actually your face in the tile reminds me more of Colonel Popcorn in the Cineplex Theatres commercials that urge us to buy more popcorn and other snacks to better enjoy the movie.

  4. barbara says:

    I see the head saying, “OH!” in the top third of the tile. The dark lozenges coming inward from the sides are his arms and hands almost touching his open mouth. His legs are blocks, one on each side of the dark bit at the bottom.

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