Narcissus

Catherine Heath

October 2016


I can still taste your cigarette in my mouth--

Like the ash of fading dreams,

Nothing is what seems. 

We deem this to be prudent,

The rude lies we tell ourselves

(Afraid of falling,

And so we're stalling). 

The brawl of our emotions

Overcomes devotion

To propriety. 

Society hinders natural progress--

But I digress, 

To distract us for a time,

The leaden smile of girls who 

Want to go somewhere,

But the fairness of hindsight

Does not reach as far as us. 


Fumbling blind,

Unkind curses issue from mouths:

The loud, hoarse cackle

Of revellers, far away. 

Stay awhile and converse

The worse we'll be for waiting


Start something!

Don’t turn back

For wanting

Less than ghosts of dreams,

Deemed worthy of repute

(Disputing veracity,

I’ll wager).

You weren’t in love with me--

Seducing shadows

Is our repertoire--

We’ll go too far before

The gulf of time

Is marked by seedy whispers

(Just a sigh). 

We won’t turn back;

Wonder what we’ve lost

The prognostication

Is good but

We would not become heroes

If the way was easy,

And the breeze that blows

From yonder 

Ponders all we’ve got. 

Forgotten caresses

Sadden you,

And your heart is gladdened

When the seeping drink

Plugs that chink 

In your ardour. 

(The armour of one

Drunk on love). 


In the past lurks shadows,

But you’re still my hero. 

Perhaps I was mistaken--

This path I’ve taken

Riddled with rot;

Begot with lies--

Lance the wound!

Someday soon,

I’ll forget you, too. 


We all have to let go one day

But the pain

Is all we know. 


Boys mature to men,

Cavort with stormy passions. 

Solidify your genius;

Sorrow of Narcissus

Gazing deep into the pool...

Hypnotised by

Beautiful reason,

Sudden symmetry

In face of certain death. 

Awake! Awake! She says. 


Not a peak, it's a plateau--

It's all about control. 

That's why they're drawn

To histrionic girls,

Sketched out in lines

Slowly rubbing out. 


The final curtain call. 

“Come down off the clouds,” 

Proud angels say: 

“This life is not today.” 


Take a cold, hard look

At the book you’re holding. 

Turn the page, 

In our old age, we find

The book we read

Was not our own. 

The words he said,

We’ve now outgrown. 

The mould-covered grammar

Stammers along to tunes

Artfully composed

Without you. 


Ethereal smoke

Burnt into imagination;

Shadows of people

Ingrained in memory. 

Insubstantial touching

Reaching up to heights

Of ecstasy. 

Pretensions of love,

Or extensions from above,

Before sick dawning horror

Precludes redemption. 

Hanging bows from 

Hanging dolls--

Execution toys

Are worse than boys. 


Credit: Photo by Brandon Hoogenboom on Unsplash