A Galatian Marriage
Discouraged with the impiety of feminine nature, the artist Pygmalion sculpts his vision of a perfect woman. He falls in love with his creation, named Galatea, who comes to life after the intercession of Venus. Like all loves built on idealization, the couple lives happily ever after.
After birth, as if from a patina shroud,
eagerly answering caresses,
shuddering with each kiss, learning
the veins of his body,
she traces him back as an unearthed vase
or sunset dancing over the Aegean.
At evening she grasps his gifts
like votives of frankincense.
But daily stares through the window
at a forbidden city promise dark clouds
and possibility. And during rare nights out
his green eyes guard her close, his hands
elect her clothes, and his brow trenches
with her childish questions. Twisting
it absently, she finds her ring
a bit snug — surprising for a sculptor.
It was a Friday. He returned home,
melting moulds scattered through the blank studio.
The streets echoed with his calls,
but returned only vacant, plastered eyes.
He grieved her lost, or stolen;
never, thought he, for marble wandering.
“To the Nose”
Ovid (43 BC-17 AD) was a Roman poet and satirist, known primarily for writing Ars Amatoria (The Arts of Love), Remedia Amoris (The Remedies of Love), and Metamorphoses.
Sing, letters, through an upturned mouth,
the arts of love and blow to flame
the latent embers of desire;
teach fingers grace to stroke the seeds
and draw them upward to a tree, plant gardens
of delight to bed the sun and watch it rise.
Sing, words, with a tamed tongue
to douse the flames of a consuming tree
and exile limbs still clinging;
teach our minds to recollect the past
and strength to grind our crystals into dust,
of what we’re made and thus return.
Sing, voice, from core to cavity
how flutters in the aether thus descend
to change all bodies, forms, and kinds;
teach of the smith, the sorceress,
the spider and the laurel, that we might fear
immortal love for man.
Sing, and sing ever, for knowledge stored
decays until its silence breaks;
teach us hide from heaven’s eye
lest men turn beasts whose gods they serve.
Joshua S. Fullman is Professor of English and Director of the University Writing Center at California Baptist University. His debut collection of poems, Voices of Iona (2022), is currently available. Follow his essays and poetry at www.joshuasfullman.com.
Joshua S. Fullman, “A Galatian Marriage / Nasoni,” An Unexpected Journal: The Ancients 4, no. 3. (Fall 2021), 9-14.
Direct Link: https://anunexpectedjournal.com/a-galatian-marriage-nasoni/