Stones first breath
drawn from crumbling ruins
Awakened by a vision of
Those who had molded her
Embraced in loves first kiss
They bond their vows
Galatea has arose
from an eternity of worship
Payment is welcome and due!
Copyright © 2002, Trina Zacharias
King of Cyprus, where women called Propoetides gave their bodies to anyone they wanted. Pygmalion was disgusted by them and swore never to marry. He lived alone, making sculptures so beautiful that his fame reached Olympus, and Aphrodite herself came to pose.
Pygmalion was so inspired by Aphrodite that he carved a statue of unprecedented beauty out of ivory. He worked on it until it reached absolute perfection and was unapproachable by any statue or even a living woman. It was so realistic that the artist fell passionately in love with it. He would kiss and caress the motionless figure, receiving no response. He adorned her with jewelry and clothes and brought her gifts of flowers, pet birds, and shells, pretending that she eagerly thanked him. He even slept with her and would talk endlessly to her, but her lips remained still.
During the festival to Aphrodite, people all over the island were preparing sacrifices. When Pygmalion was standing before the altar with his sacrifice, he prayed to the gods that he be granted a wife like the beautiful statue. Aphrodite knew that his desire was for the statue, not a woman like it, and sent him a sign by making the flame on the altar flare up three times. The omen excited Pygmalion, and he hurried back home.
The statue was still on its pedestal when Pygmalion returned. He cautiously kissed her; she seemed to be warm. Her skin became soft, reminding him of wax, but this surely wasn't wax. As he held the figure in his arms, Pygmalion felt the beating of her heart. He kissed her again, and this time he felt her return it. The statue began to move, and they locked in embrace. Pygmalion named her Galatea, and they went on to marry, with Aphrodite attending the wedding.