In our image obsessed culture the old, old story of Narcissus and the body beautiful is as new as another gorgeous photo, thank you Bruce Weber, for Abercrombie & Fitch's latest pitch to purchase.
To purchase what?
A reflection of beauty of course. Made self aware by comparison and confounded by perfection we are all in love with surface but desire depth of being.
So the story of Narcissus forever resonates in the individual’s search for self.
At left is my new Monotype Print, Narcissus Reflected, (22 x 29.5 in.) See it in my studio during the Spring Vashon Island Studio Tour.
Here is Mr. Eliot's take on Narcissus, a poem of self awareness and metamorphosis, Cantacal V, Or-
The Death of Saint Narcissus by T. S. Eliot
When the wind made him aware of his limbs smoothly passing each other
And of his arms crossed over his breast.
When he walked over the meadows
He was stifled and soothed by his own rhythm.
By the river
His eyes were aware of the pointed corners of his eyes
And his hands aware of the pointed tips of his fingers.
Struck down by such knowledge
He could not live men's ways, but became a dancer before God.
If he walked in city streets
He seemed to tread on faces, convulsive thighs and knees.
So he came out under the rock.
First he was sure that he had been a tree,
Twisting its branches among each other
And tangling its roots among each other.
Then he knew that he had been a fish
With slippery white belly held tight in his own fingers,
Writhing in his own clutch, his ancient beauty
Caught fast in the pink tips of his new beauty.
Then he had been a young girl
Caught in the woods by a drunken old man
Knowing at the end the taste of his own whiteness,
The horror of his own smoothness, And he felt drunken and old.
So he became a dancer to God,
Because his flesh was in love with the burning arrows
He danced on the hot sand Until the arrows came.
As he embraced them his white skin surrendered itself to the redness of blood, and satisfied him.
Now he is green, dry and stained With the shadow in his mouth.
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