Two Greek sisters, one of flesh and bone, one
Of Parian marble stone, when gods granted
Mortals blessings, cruel destinies were oft left
Unrevealed, Aphrodite bestowing life to my
Mother, Galatea, beloved statue of my father,
Pygmalion, twin daughters they conceived on
Cypric shores, Adeon and Deona.
Adolescent daughter, I am Adeon, pained mix-
Ture of flesh and stone, yearning warmth of sun
At Aphrodite’s ocean rocks. My sister, Deona,
Was born alive, by flashes of goddess’ eyes,
Young Deona turned to stone, her dove-adorned
Likeness transfixed on marble funerary stele,
Ironies of god’s blessing, fates without appeal.
O! Metamorphosed maid, Deona’s portrait was
Heavy burden we endured, neither buried nor
Abandoned, waving hair and somber face time-
Frozen ancient past, innocent punished for our
Father’s love, stele carried by strong men and
Oxen cart, our reckoning with twisted love of
Art and life that both created and destroyed.
Whilst Deona knew not life, or so we prayed,
My body was vulnerable to cold, and thus to
Cypric shores we clung, warmth of sun and sea.
On cool evening my breasts to blue-veined
Marble turned. If not warmed at night, my
Arms and legs became like stone, all feeling
And movement lost.
When marbled curse passed finally, my limbs
Felt as if on fire, pin and needles in every pore,
My hands and fingers last to recover in loving
Arms of ivory-thriving mother, horrified father’s
Stares, no prayers or supplications to Aphrodite
Or to Pantheon of gods eased pains so petrified
Upon youthful breasts, graceful arms and legs.
Whilst we blamed not Aphrodite or sacred fates,
Release we sought through daily prayers, votive
Offerings, and animal sacrifice, blood of sheep
And pigs spilt in supplication to remedy when
Male passions burned and glowed, to touch lily-
Smooth sculpted hands and breasts, to clutch
In alighted passions, curvéd hips and waist.
Thus, our family lives, Galatea, Pygmalion, and
Marble-captive Deona, her stele resting quietly
By my bed. Under warm blankets I dream, she
Has wrested free, winding hair unbound, doves
On wingéd flight, walking Paphos sunlit shores,
Twin sisters, blessed and accursed, my suffering
Soul, without Deona, my life is emptiness.
Inspired by mythological Pygmalion and Galatea, this poem is a
variation of those written by Dryden, Beddoes, Browning, and
Yes, similarity between names “Adeon” and “Deona” is intentional.