In woodlands dwelt a bedeviled nymph
Who could only repeat what others speak.
Her vengeful curse strong, her passive resistance weak;
Other’s words she’d obediently follow with a hollow Echo.
One dewy spring day a haughty bloke dropped by
Pinched and parched from an impassioned hunt.
He dropped and drank from riverfront;
Instantly bewitched by the allure before his eyes.
Drawn to his graces, Echo instantly enthralled.
The rascal’s rugged presentation surpassed any in the land
Unable to speak, she concocted a scheme, and this was her plan:
Some branches she’d break, and the crack would be her call.
“Who’s there?” inquired the rogue, transfixed to the face in the water.
Echo, granted fortune to speak, chanted back to him “who’s there?”
The young man about-faced but simply could not see
Sweet Echo who was slyly obscured amongst the leafy trees.
“Come here,” he summoned the stranger in the woods.
“Come here,” a soft voice reproduced his words.
Irked by the mocking games the furtive female played,
The swain returned to the water, and into powerful eyes he gazed.
Bewitched by the robust beauty in the brook
The cad smiled, winked and sighed, “you’re lovely.”
A sweet-tempered echo in his ears replied, “you’re lovely.”
The convincing, whispered witness he freely took.
The wood nymph collecting some much-needed courage
Found herself poised at the heels of the man
Who turned abruptly, and “go away” his bold demand.
So “go away” she cried–dejected and discouraged.
The man returned his gaze to the praise of the watery stranger
And there spent remaining days on earth.
On watery banks occurred the epic birth
Of flowers now named Narcissus
To warn of obsession and vain self worth
That build inauthentic blisses.
Author’s Note: I converted this well-known myth into a poem for a book of emergency lesson plans I helped compile with a teacher friend, Michelle Clark several years ago. I have recently revised what I wrote to fix many problems I saw with the original publication, and I am happier with the current results.
You can get a copy of A Likely Story at Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.