The path beyond my garden exists,
even now, effortlessly balanced,
but carefully curated in a manner
most pleasing to me, Nemesis,
goddess of what mortals believe
to be divine retribution.
I know not where they came up with
this idea of my being
righteous and wrathful,
but I saw no reason to correct this
I am only concerned with
my garden’s natural equilibrium.
And nothing more than that.
But lo came a haughty disruption
in the form of a man called Narcissus
by the wind’s echo;
a man so enraptured by his own beauty
that his self-indulgent joy caused
both mortal and immortal suffering.
Another mortal, mortally wounded
by vain, callous, unrequited love,
prayed to me to teach the man a lesson
for all the pain he caused,
and I was inclined to grant this wish,
not as retribution,
for man’s suffering
is of no concern of mine,
but to restore the effortless balance
lost by one man contemplating
his exquisiteness at expense
of other’s souls.
I came across this princely man
at the heights of his self-enrapture,
gazing upon his own reflection
in one of my garden pools.
Indeed, he was the most beautiful man
I’d ever encountered,
but I am immortal, and immune
to his superficial, secular charms.
As I positioned myself,
readied to deliver My Judgement,
the vain fool lost his footing,
fell into the pond,
Word spread among mortals
that I caused him to fall in love
with his own reflection,
but that is beyond my powers.
His own nature was the source
of many of nature’s problems,
and verily, it provided
its own solution.
Nature is self-sufficient in that way.
As my garden’s balance righted itself,
and humanity also learned
a timeless lesson,
I saw no reason
to correct this erroneous tale.
Written for NaPoWriMo Day 21 prompt:
And now for our (optional) prompt. In her interview, Brim provides us with several suggestions for generative writing exercises, and we’d like to challenge to today to tackle her third one, which is based in the myth of Narcissus. After reading the myth, try writing a poem that plays with the myth in some way. For example, you could imagine that imagine the water is speaking to you, the narcissus flower. Or you could write a poem in which the narcissus berates the Kardashians for stealing their neurosis. Or a poem that comments on the narcissism of our time, i.e. beauty and body obsession, etc.
Full-disclosure: Recently, I already wrote a Narcissus-themed poem, called Echo’s Lament. I almost skipped this prompt, when I thought of this other angle from the perspective of the goddess Nemesis. After writing this one, I’m glad I didn’t skip this prompt. 🙂