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Narcissus And Echo

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A retelling of the famed Greek story of Narcissus and Echo. Written in narrative poetry format

Poetry / Other
Age Rating:


Twas that time of day, rife to diurnals,

With black skies dispersing for bright tawny,

When a voiceless maiden wandering the woods,

Aimlessly walking at early morning,

Spotted during her mindless wandering,

Through the labyrinth of vibrant flora,

A sight that clenched at her heart, allure,

Desirousness swelling in her aura,

But who was the lady walking the forests of Gaia purposeless and as pointless as an infant hawk, attempting the glide alike their kin, with a broken wing. Voiceless why? Devoiced by whom?

A fair nymph, once joyous, but hexed by she,

Mother of Ares and wedded to Zeus,

She whom accursed her as a punishment,

Ridding her of a voice to plead for truce,

Echo, a daughter of old Uranus,

And such a beauteous visage she held,

Punished for affiliating with Zeus,

In hiding an affair, by Hera quelled,

Unjustly forced to aid the concealment,

Of yet another of Zeus’ transgressions,

Another vile act of unfaithfulness,

One Echo hid from Heras discretion,

And so, despite not being the accomplice,

Of whom with, Zeus defiled matrimony,

Echo vouchsafed a dismal consequence,

Robbed of speech, by Heras acrimony,

Cursed by Hera and her grudgeful disdain,

Stripped of her independent expression,

Condemned only to repeat and relay,

The words and phrases another has mentioned.

An echo, a ripple of words bespoken,

The liminal wall before speech dissolves,

A wall she was fated to embody,

Despite not intending to be involved,

*When Zeus had strayed away from loyalty (as he often does), led by his loins instead of his sapience and sense, Echo offended Hera by trying to distract and prevent her suspicious glares from drifting over the affair unfolding behind her eyes. In doing so, Hera, given time, realised that the nymph had been cozening her, keeping her in conversation, and keeping her gaze detoured of Zeus’ amorous antics. What was foreign to Echo (at that time) however, was that this divagation from loyalty, prompted by sexual desire, was not at all uncommon for Zeus and thereon, as unfortunate as it may be for Hera either; Ergo it was only a matter of seconds before she would discern Echo’s deception, and when she did, she bestowed onto the nymphs head, a punishment with purposeful irony and one that would give her the name she owned thereafter. For her deceptive words, meant to trick the Goddess, Echo was cursed to only repeat another’s phrase, a punishment that ensured Echo would never be capable of trickery again and would never curl her tongue to spew perfidious words.

A hunter, famed in Thespiae, desired,

His beauty not paralleled by any,

Known for his mien ravishing all whom glance,

An entrancement onto the vast many,

Masses of folk praised his radiance, and

Masses too, were victims to what he owned,

As countless had fallen into his eyes,

And even more yearned for him in their souls,

A mutual enthral that bewitched crowds,

Narcissus the adolescent boys name,

Who sought his beauty to be so unmatched,

That all of whom he beguiled, he disdained.

And oh, how unfortunate it was too,

That Echo, whilst sinking into desire,

Would also, endure this unrequited love,

The admirer scorned by whom she’d admire.

Tracing his steps and venture through the woods,

She watched him work, Growing evermore shy,

Intoxicated by Himeros’ spell,

Enamoured, nervous, she could only spy

Stepping on a twig during her tracking,

She alerted the boy, who then shouted,

“Who goes there?” Echo reiterated,

Able only to repeat, she solemnly pouted,

Wishing there that she wasn’t incapable,

Fomented by her cursed ineptitude,

Limited by what she’s able to voice,

For in lack of expression, repression

Is ensued.

Narcissus resumed roaming the forest,

Assuming the trees had carried his voice,

Clueless to the nymph tailing his journey,

With a longing, each second, more hoist

And so it continued, until she couldn’t,

As her enamour had swelled even more,

So much more, that she left her concealment,

And approached him to lovingly implore,

Spreading her arms to embrace Narcissus,

She succumbed to his irresistible charm,

Only to receive his great abhorrence,

Disgusted, he fled from between her arms,

And to her admiration he declared,

In a tone filled with vehement repulse,

“How could I ever adore one like you?”

Sickened at the idea he convulsed,

Dismissing her affections carelessly,

Over-consumed by his utter revolt,

Disregarding her feelings towards him,

Prompting her disconsolance in result,

Remorseless to all those who admired him,

Sickened by all faces except his own,

Nauseated by all external love,

And cruel towards all endearment shown.

Suffocated by her woe, poor Echo,

Thereafter this rejection so hostile,

Withdrew her request of fond expression,

And sprinted into wood whereat her woe would pile.

Unknown to Narcissus’ ever vain mind,

Was that Nemesis observed this exchange,

And in her justice focused psyche,

Concluded his cruelty required wage,

Retribution for all those spirits he tore,

For all the hearts he ruined and destroyed,

And merely for bearing a fondness,

For his enchanting appearance, flaw devoid,

So there onwards upon a fateful morn,

During the day proceeding the latter,

While hunting as he did day after day,

Thinking naught of the spirit he shattered,

His eyes peering loosely, scouting the woods,

Would spot the fulcrum to Nemesis’ stunt,

The integral place to her vengeful scheme,

Entranced, Narcissus approached a lakes front,

A small water patch whereat down he’d glance,

And before his eyes he’d see another,

A perfect face bellow the aqua wall,

A face so gorgeous alike no other,

Seduced by the face displayed in water,

Bewitched, he ogled long at whom he saw,

Enchanted evermore the more he stared,

His belief in love becoming restored,

But who?

Who withheld such an enticing enthral,

To captivate the boy immensely vain,

With an infatuation with himself,

So deep, it imposed his romantic prospects’ pain?

Mesmerised still, and plunged into a fear,

Wary if he deviated elsewhere,

That he would lose sights of this spectacle,

Narcissus refused to let his stare impair,

Alas the boy during his peer discerned,

The unfortunate truth of his fervour,

That his love could never be requited,

When one is both the admired and observer,

For displayed in the water before him,

The face that ensnared all his limbs and bone,

The eyes which he gazed zealously into,

Were the eyes in the reflection of his own.

*Despite how deeply one loves themselves, the surging rivers of self-enamour can only mimic the velocity of mutually besotted adoration, the depth of love, shared by two, for one desired person of significance, runs into ones veins and into their and heart; whereas the love of ingenuine enthralment for one’s self cannot compensate for the absence of outside appreciation, limited by actions and intimacy that can only be granted and bestowed onto another by a separate benevolent hand. Narcissus, knowing this, immediately sunk into a love drought, aware that self-proclivity cannot ever best care from exterior lovers. Aware too, even with all the rejections he bespoke to all potential lovers, of loves reciprocal nature, and that an existential mirror of one person, even when appearing as a detached entity is still a mere reflection of one singular being, and therefore cannot act or love as an independent mind would. The prudence of Nemesis to auger that Narcissus would undergo this plangent epiphany, the cunningness of the karmic God embodying divine retribution, her mind fit to think of the most fitting consequences for every individual, and the irony that as Narcissus peered into the reflection below the barrier of water, staring from above, on land, that he overhead, was the one truly drowning despite not being underwater and drowning in something far worse than mere water, for he was drowning in the deepest depths of sudden despair.

Drowning in his grief at the cognisance,

As did all of those whom he heartlessly wronged,

Narcissus learned the pain in denial,

By one (whom for) another wistfully longs,

Disregarding needed feats and slumber,

Narcissus remained close beside that lake,

Refusing to move, caring not for health,

He withered to death for coveting’s sake,

Aware there upon the moment he saw,

Those eyes of which he pointlessly adored,

The rue and woe within all the past souls,

That his negligence had broken theretofore.

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Ben: First off, as someone who is 38 and gay ftm at over 15 yrs this is very accurate emotionally. In early to mid 2000s as a teen I thankfully had great parents and sister and spouse at that time but that deep hatred, loathing, and disgusting looks is why I had to wait until 19 to even start the proc...

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