Near the path through the woods I’ve seen it:
a trail of white candles.
I could find it again, I could follow
its light deep into shadows.
Didn’t I stand there once?
Didn’t I choose to go back
down the cleared path, the familiar?
Narcissus, you said. Wasn’t this
the flower whose sudden enchantments
led Persephone down into Hades?
You remember the way she was changed
when she came every spring, having seen
the withering branches, the chasms,
and how she had to return there
helplessly, having eaten
the seed of desire. What was it
I saw you were offering me
without meaning to, there in the sunlight,
while the flowers beckoned and shone
in their flickering season?
Copyright © 2003 Patricia Hooper. From Aristotle’s Garden (Bluestem Press, 2003) by Patricia Hooper. Used with permission of the author.
Patricia Hooper is the author of four poetry collections, including Separate Flights (University of Tampa Press, 2016) and Other Lives (Elizabeth Street Press, 1984).
Date Published: 2017-09-12
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/narcissus