What is the woman looking at while this man is totally absent-minded and looking at his reflection in the pond? This famous depiction of Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse is a great example of a story of one-sided love, or loving one’s self too much to ever have the ability to love anyone else.

What might the woman be thinking about? Is she blaming the man for having rejected her, or for not even looking at her? Does he even know she is there? Why would a man reject a woman like that? What is the impact of his rejection on her, as on any other woman?

Imagine the man’s broken after he saw her with another man, and now he cannot look at her face anymore and has learned to love himself more and care only for himself. Would that be fair to all the other women he will see in his life? Might she be one of these wronged other women? I can feel many ideas for a poem already coming out of this painting…

Sometimes, a man is torn between what he wants for himself and his life, his dreams and ambitions all breaking at the shore of a woman he loves. He has to choose between his life or being with her all the time. If he pursues his fantasies and dreams, all the world might benefit from his endeavor, or perhaps nobody. However, if he chooses to devote himself to her and her only, he will have surely pleased one person in this world by the time he says farewell to the world, or sometimes not. What a predicament! I can sense a story developing behind the scenes. What might the story be? And more importantly, what would the man choose to do?

Write a short story, or a poem about what you can discern from this painting and share a link to your story with us here on Hungry Writer. You can be generous and share a link to this writing prompt on your website or your social media.

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