Dear Narcissus

A few months ago I was invited to attend a spoken word gathering to fundraise for Syria. The crowd was came from all ages, race and religion, but it was striking to see how similar the poems were.

One particular poem that struck me was one about Narcissus, a man from greek mythology who was led to a pool where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus died. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself. The writer, non-muslim, described how she saw todays society suffering the same disease which plagued Narcissus, writing this poem as a reflection on those things.

Below is the transcription of the poem along with the reflection and recitation by its author.

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A poem inspired by the Greek myth of Narcissus, a man who fell in love with his own reflection in some water and drowned because of this obsessive fascination with himself. More importantly, the poem is inspired by how Narcissus’s story lives on in today’s society, people becoming more and more consumed by their own image until they eventually drown…in a metaphorical / spiritual sense.

Dear Narcissus
Why didn’t you look up?
Amazed by your own face
You found yourself stuck

Locked into the gaze of your own two eyes
Obsession with self brought on your demise

There is so much beauty to be seen in this world
But you couldn’t even be distracted by a girl

In pure water you found a lover that was toxic
Observing laws of symmetry, defied the realms of logic

What of personality, knowledge and heart
Is it only your features that you will ever see as art

Never became a father, never bonded with a wife
Before you had a chance to try, vanity took your life

Now there is a piece of you in a lot of these people
Your tragic existence, they are just as feeble

As you were, faced with your own reflection
Combine that with insecurity and warped perceptions
You breed a race that from its own self needs protection

Dear Narcissus
How can you forget them

Your spirit should rise from its watery grave
To show them they don’t need to go the same way

They won’t physically drown or actually die
But their souls are consumed by this visual lie

Call it beauty, sexiness, some call it swagger
I call it aiming at God with a dagger

Valuing yourself, what you wear or how you look
How many friends on your twitter or holy Facebook

Narcissus, your legacy lives on today
They’re no different than you were when you lost your way

And it’s not like this comparison came out of the blue
A personality disorder is named after you

But their egos thrive on more than just appearance
It’s status or prowess or how many people fear them

Its clothing and cars as well as their faces
Wearing other people’s names on tops jeans and trainers

Just to appear like they are better than you
They can’t think of anything better to do

Than earn, and spend, and pose and lie
To themselves, the parts that they chose to hide

Narcissus, you started this fatal trend
Now it’s grown and evolved, where will it end

Drowned simply in the water you saw yourself in
These days we can choose from a number of things

Our iPhones, cameras and computer screens
Our downfall the only thing we refuse to see

We thrive on the abundant superficial attention
While they thrive on our innate fear or rejection

Through vanity some seek to be more secure
Narcissus, please show them their reflection is false

Dear Narcissus, please help them break the glass
And shatter their own image to a 1000 shining shards

Just like your face dispersed its own double
As you fell through the water and up rose the bubble

Admiring the way that your outer shell was made
So beautiful, it literally took your breath away

Narcissus – A man from greek mythology. He was led by a fellow Greek to a pool where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus died. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself.

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