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Narcissus and the Lake as Reflected by Oscar Wilde

Maya Ellenson is keen on creating unconventional poetry and prose, inspired by what the moment reveals.

Reflections

Halpatiokee Regional Park, Stuart, Florida

Halpatiokee Regional Park, Stuart, Florida

Spectacle of the Two Mirrors

In his tale, “The Story of Narcissus”, Oscar Wilde revealed that the myth of Narcissus contains two players: Narcissus and the pool. The two equally reflect each other. The eyes of Narcissus mirror loveliness of the pool the same way as the latter reflects his mythical beauty. The two complement each other. It takes the two to reflect and create a dialogue. It takes a true genius to see the two actors in this conventional, one-sided, ego-centric interpretation of the myth. In his timeless creation, De Profundis, Wilde wrote, "Truth in art is not any correspondence between the essential idea and the accidental existence; it is not the resemblance of shape to shadow, or of the form mirrored in the crystal to the form itself; it is no echo coming from a hollow hill, any more than it is a silver well of water in the valley that shows the moon to the moon and Narcissus to Narcissus. Truth in art is the unity of a thing with itself: the outward rendered expressive of the inward: the soul made incarnate: the body instinct with spirit”. The concept of Narcissism derived from the myth falls flat, for it rips apart the totality of the act of mirroring.


Narcissus drowned

rather in one-sided concept

than in his self-love


for there is no such thing

as self reflection


in the act of mirroring

it’s always the other

entailed


Narcissism has no depth

It’s flat and shallow

constraining like the Bed of Procrustes


mirrors appear in a myriad of forms

and random

startling shapes


including crystal

blue-green eyeballs

of Narcissus

so clear--


the lake

beheld day after day

its own sun-dappled

enameled splendor

mirrored in his eyes


as Narcissus vanished

behind the looking glass

of the bereaved

grief-stricken lake


it turned from fresh water

into salty tears


in sacred union

these two actors drowned in each other

in the spectacle of the two mirrors


Mirroring

Halpatiokee Regional Park, Stuart, Florida

Halpatiokee Regional Park, Stuart, Florida

Reversed Sky

Halpatiokee Regional Park, Stuart, Florida

Halpatiokee Regional Park, Stuart, Florida

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