They were a couple made in heaven,
if such a thing could ever be,
a pair of youths at sixes and sevens,
in love with the same nonentity.
She loved him, but he looked away:
no woodland nymph could win his heart,
not when stark perfection lay
just out of reach, a breath apart.
Narcissus saw a perfect face
suspended in a perfect pool,
while Echo stood in perfect grace,
parroting a perfect fool.
Not since the goddess touched her throat
had Echo uttered Echo’s words,
but now she found she had to quote
each bald inanity she heard.
“What an idiot,” she thought;
“Why must you always flee?” she said.
Narcissus, badly overwrought,
assayed a kiss, but dunked his head.
“Your beauty beggars all my dreams;
it’s almost equal to my own.”
“Get a life,” her senses screamed.
“Endless love,” her larynx moaned.
Echo fell too ill to eat;
Narcissus aged and took to gin.
Both their hearts conspired to beat,
but clearly love would do them in.
At last the luckless bride and groom
became the essence of their choice:
he a drooping, showy bloom,
she a disembodied voice,
promiscuous, perhaps, but larky,
full of devilry and tricks;
Narcissus, riding Charon’s bark,
rejoined his lover in the