Narcissa’s Despair

Her body:
Naked, it shines –
Defined, attractive;
Her pride and fixation.

A blessing:
Beauty, indeed!
Idling, she leers at
Herself in the mirror.

Her psyche,
Unmoved; blemished.
Insecurity –
Insecurity reigns.

A curse, that:
Cunning, crouching,
Creeping self-loathing
Strikes her, beats down like sand.

This is she:
Handsome, unloved,
Covets inversion
over vain solitude.

Desire her;
Want her, at least.
If you can’t love her
Grant her intimacy

“Hold, beauty!”
It fades, it must.
Fearful, she clings on,
Drowning in vanity.

(Blessèd; broken;
Too flawed to be loved)
Flaunts her beauty in vain.


~ by David Heslin on 05/10/2009.

One Response to “Narcissa’s Despair”

  1. “A slight reinterpretation of the Narcissus myth as an allegory for the relationship between body image and self-hatred in contemporary society.”

    I’m fairly confident that this is the best poem I’ve written to date.

    Not only is it thematically broader and more interesting than a lot of my earlier work (mainly poems about unrequited love), it is rigorously structured and reads relatively well.

    Like much of my writing, it’s embarrassingly personal. The title of the poem was originally “Narcissus’ Despair”, and I only changed the gender in order to make it less obvious who the poem was actually about. I think this was a good choice, as what I really wanted to write about here was not just my own vanity, but a more general emptiness that I have perceived among many members of my generation in Western societies.

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