Invidia — a free verse poem on Envy

Human Parts prompt “Envy”

The following poem is a response to the Weekend Writing Prompt: Unpack Your Envy by Human Parts.

Invidia is the Roman goddess of retribution and envy, her Greek counterpart being Nemesis. A number of rituals and spells existed in ancient Rome that effectively averted envy and the evil eye. Witches and magic were associated with Invidia, who was said to have a poisoned tongue; this is why witches were depicted having protruding tongues. Invidia was closely associated with occassions in which justice was offended and the sight of undeserved wealth and shamelessly exercised authority caused grief. She was described as having a pale skin, lean body and discoloured teeth. In the Christian religion, Invidia became one of the Seven Deadly Sins. — Greek Mythology


seven deadly sins
you, one of them
and I, have lived holding
your hand. Sinewy-foul
skin wrapped taut,
eyes that impaled
me green.

tiny red-head baby
gets to wear yellow
and I, wrapped in pink
can’t comb my hair

kids at school wear
Jordache and new Keds
and I, wear last year’s socks
my brother’s jeans

sweet sixteenth cars and
graduation checks, plans
for the future like shiny pearls
but I, pregnant, plan a wedding

brick homes, wooden doors
Christmas wreaths, lights
shiny cars, paved driveways
and I, travel by them
watching the gas light
glowing green on the dash,
anxiety grinding like hunger

Invidia — let me go.

young boys eventually become young men
and I, their mother — age.
I do not look around anymore
for what they have that we do not.
The wanting is exhausting, merely
plodding against the wind

Invidia cast your horrid gaze
upon these empty seas…
I’ll simply stay afloat
and set sail, the sun
waits the same for me

I hang a wreath of hope
on this mobile-home,
painted metal door — humble, bent.
Home, just the same.

Out with you! Invidia — Nemesis
— wretched evil eye —
you are not welcome here.
I’ll hang my wreath in peace, if you please.

I’ll not hang my head.
I’ll not avert my eyes — in shame.
I will lift on broken wing.

Poverty breeds envy — at least it has been that way for me. As I have gotten older I’ve learned that it takes more effort to look at what everyone else has and nurture an envious heart, than it does to simply appreciate where you are in life and what you have to offer. Be rich with gratitude. Be rich with joy. Be rich with generosity and acceptance of others. Be rich from the inside — it radiates more beautifully than any green-eyed beast. ~ Christina Ward, poet

𝘐 𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘮𝘺 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘢 𝘧𝘶𝘭𝘭-𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘳. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘥 𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘺 𝘫𝘢𝘮.

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