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.

 

Nasoni

“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.




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Citation Information

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/


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