C Richard Miles

Narcissus - Poem by C Richard Miles

And there it is, a misfit,
In the precisely planted bed
Of daffodil dragoons,
Stark white,
An interloper
In the regimented yellow
A shock of difference
Amongst the gold.

Of course, the gardener
Had had no way
Of discriminating
When they were bulbs,

For didn’t all bulbs
Look just the same
In the garish orange netting
Of the bag
Before he planted them?

There was no way of knowing
How things would turn out
And it was only in the spring
After submission
In the cloying soil of winter
That the blooms emerged
To show
Their true colours.

And so it is with me,
Like that narcissus:
I am no single, jaundiced bud,
Not just another
Member of the common crowd
Content to bloom
In strict concordance with
The norms of commonplace.

I wish to shine out bright,
Like the white narcissus’s
Largesse of clustered florets

I do not mind if
I stand out
Conspicuous from the humdrum herd
Of massed humanity.

Why should I care if I
Outshine the rest?
But then, again, perhaps
It is more simple
Cowardly, cowedly
To conform.

And then I think
Of the long-remembered
Greek Narcissus myth,
Concerned if I look inward
For too long
And only see myself
And not consider others, too

Individuality might just
Imprison me as tight
As confines of conformity
And if the calling world
Receded like the plaintive call
Of the fair nymph, Echo,
To a whispered breath
Might I just lose myself
And disappear
Into mere nothingness?

So, brave Narcissus,
I must feel for you
Condemned to be an outcast,
Pale amongst the gold

But you and I
Will make our marks
If idiosyncratically
Upon the dull depressing
Cold conventionality
Of this lost world.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Poem Edited: Tuesday, November 30, 2010

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