Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SECOND OPINION, by STEPHEN CUSHMAN

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SECOND OPINION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Erat illimis fons. 'there was a clear spring'
Subject(s): Mythology - Classical; Narcissus (mythology)

Erat illimis fons. "There was a clear spring"
doesn't quite get it, the sense of slimelessness
Ovid wanted, and let's ease up on Narcissus.
Imagine how it feels to have your name twisted

into a term that's never a compliment.
Okay, he's good-looking, a little stuck up,
but why plunge overboard on sympathy for Echo --
she got hers for hoodwinking Juno -- and before you go

slapping his name on someday else, make sure
you read the damn story: Quod petis est nusquam.
"What you seek is nowhere": wound beyond balm.
And all because Narcissus said no

to someone who bitched to Nemesis.
Where would we be if everybody's id
could revenge itself on the unrequiting,
and what about empathy for the cursed kid

suddenly burning in his own blind fire?
Disorders need naming, though; let's be fair,
and who can blame Nacke or Ellis or Freud
that the beautiful boy forgot himself fully

when he fell for his face and having kissed
tasteless water only then realized
the terrible error. That part doesn't fit;
yet it's not the fault of your local therapist

who's making a living and may not wonder
why the gods would change a loser
bad enough to name our problems after
into white flowers with a saffron center.


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