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Alan Cook

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  Echo and Narcissus
by Alan Cook
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent poems by Alan Cook
•  Berlin Wall (1961-1989)
•  Librarian
•  Limericks--Lady from France
•  Minotaur, The
•  Bull Leaper
           >> View all 46




The Greek myth of Echo and Narcissus. For Echo's side of the story, see also, "Echo's Story" under Stories.


 

What causes an echo, an echo, an echo,
When you shout in a canyon or cave?
Come listen, come listen, I'll tell you a tale,
A tale for the meek and the brave.
There once lived a Nymph, a beautiful Nymph,
Arcadia was her home.
Like all beautiful Nymphs she enhanced her beauty
With flower and ribbon and comb.
Her name was Echo, was Echo, was Echo,
A good Arcadian name.
And she had just one fault, but a grievous fault,
Which led to her downfall and shame.
She liked to talk, to talk and to chatter
On subjects sublime and absurd.
Whenever she talked, she chattered and argued,
And she had to have the last word.
One day with Hera, Queen Goddess Hera,
Echo talked and chattered away.
Now Hera had wished to surprise her husband,
King Zeus, with the Nymphs at play.
Because of the chatter, Queen Hera was thwarted,
And you don't thwart a goddess who's queen.
So Hera said, "Echo, I'm taking your voice;
Starting now you're not heard but just seen.
I'll make one concession," (an ironic concession),
"Since you always must have the last word,
You'll still have the last word, but only the last,
And you have to repeat what you've heard."
So here was poor Echo, poor Echo, poor Echo,
Would she be resigned to her fate?
She still had her beauty, but lacking in words,
How could she win a mate?
One day in the forest when she was out walking
She saw a beautiful man.
And Echo thought, I will win his love
Or I'm not an Arcadian.
His name was Narcissus, and he was searching
For a friend, for a friend who was lost.
And he called, "Where are you? Where are you? Where are you?"
As the paths of the forest he crossed.
Now Echo wished to tell him she loved him,
But all that she could do
Was whenever he called, "Where are you? Where are you?"
She repeated the last word, "You?"
This puzzled Narcissus; from where came this voice
As gentle as a breeze?
This voice that repeated, repeated his words;
He searched among the trees.
Though Echo was hiding, was hiding, her heart
Was burning with red-hot fire.
Her urge to stay hidden was overcome
By her intense desire.
From behind a tree she ran and wrapped
Narcissus in her arms.
She hoped, she hoped that he would love
Her for her many charms.
Alas, Narcissus knew nothing of love;
In him there burned no flame.
Aloof and proud, he lived life as
A mechanical, passionless game.
Narcissus was frightened and ran away
From Echo's sweet affection,
And Echo, poor Echo, poor Echo was crushed
Because of his rejection.
Ashamed and alone, despondent, despairing,
She hid in the back of a cave.
She wasted and wasted and wasted to nothing;
That cave became her grave.
And what of Narcissus, the heartless Narcissus,
What fate had he in store?
Well, Aphrodite, goddess of love,
Found someone for him to adore.
It's not what you think; the goddess blamed
Narcissus for Echo's demise.
And so she determined a clever plan,
For goddesses are wondrous wise.
One day she caused him to come to a spring,
And when he knelt to drink
He saw a beautiful face in the water.
Whose? Well, whose do you think?
He saw Narcissus, Narcissus, Narcissus,
He saw his own reflection,
But he thought it was a water spirit
Upon a close inspection.
He tried to embrace it, embrace it, but when
He touched it it disappeared.
He stayed by the pool admiring his image
Because he greatly feared
He'd lose it, he'd lose it, this beautiful face,
If he should go away.
And so he sat and pined and sat
For many and many a day.
Like Echo he wasted, not eating or drinking
Until he had left just one breath.
And with it he said goodbye to the image,
And then collapsed in death.
The faithful Echo heard the goodbye,
And she answered, she answered, "Goodbye."
And Echo, sweet Echo, will answer your words;
Her voice will never die.
Where Narcissus, Narcissus had been by the pool
A lovely white flower grew.
And we call that flower Narcissus today,
Enjoyed by me and you.

 

 


Alan Cook, Mystery and walking writer


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Reviewed by John Coppolella 3/13/2010
Amazing imagery. So much depth. The words echo in my heart!

Starman

Books by
Alan Cook



Hit that Blot: A Carol Golden Novel

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Pictureland: A Matthew and Mason Adventure

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Dancing with Bulls: A Matthew and Mason Adventure

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Forget to Remember: A Carol Golden Novel

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Relatively Dead: A Carol Golden Novel

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Dangerous Wind: A Carol Golden Novel

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Aces and Knaves

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Nook, Smashwords, more..



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