Nepenthe (pronounced ni-pen-thee) is anything, particularly a drug or drink, that induces a pleasurable forgetfulness of sorrow or trouble. Nepenthe is Greek in origin and it is the opposite of pathos.
Nepenthe has long been popular with poets with the likes of Homer and Edgar Allen Poe utilizing nepenthe (or it’s close kin) as a means of describing escaping extreme sorrow. Nepenthe was first depicted as a fictional medicine for sorrow, a “drug of forgetfulness”. Homer used nepenthe in such a way that many think He was describing opium. In modern times nepenthe could describe an anti-depressant or the use of opiates.
The poppy hints at nepenthe, a sweet escape, a forgetting dream. To loose the anguish in repose, the sorrow lifts as reality slows. To shed it all, the malaise, the grief, to stay in a hazy, forever sleep…yet this bliss is not to be, this oblivion of nepenthe. The demons may be at bay, but still I must rise and slay. To stay in twilight is not enough, I must vanquish, must disrupt. The torment shall ease, I shall regain, though twinges be felt and I never the same. ~ Ella
Nepenthe is such a poetic word and it does fit the classic, tragic, ennui ridden poetic profile so well. Nepenthe also offers a slight peek into a major cause of the opioid epidemic we are currently facing since so many have a problem because they were seeking out help and relief from some kind of pain. Nepenthe is something people have been seeking since forever, since nobody wants to feel pain of any kind, whether it is temporary or long-lasting. What do you think of the word nepenthe?
Namaste ~ Ella
** If there’s a word you’d like to see added to the Word Nerd roster, please feel free to contact me or suggest it in the comments – I love feedback and recommendations!