By Dr. Emily Bilman
The candid game between the dead barren
Nun-Mother and the satyr’s ludic libido grabble
Down the velvet tablecloth near a rose;
Glass ocular balls tumble down in disarray
Onto the floor like the taboo-apples from Eve’s
Tree of knowledge into the orchard-garden
When Eden’s primal scene was interrupted.
The children sneak into the naughty ball game
Their mother plays with her Nun-Mother’s ghost,
A lithe flower-figure with a fleur-de-lys attached
On her sharp scapula, dominating the children.
The elder, wrapped in his black cloak,
Seems amused by the foolish young satyr,
But his younger brother, disconcerted
In austere scrutiny stares defiantly
At his anthropomorphic mother,
His skillful bare hands freed in tender appeal.
Both cautious, both curious, both afraid
Of their mother’s imagined trinity.
I dreamed of a white patriarchal satyr
Disguised as the wild minotaur’s daughter,
Her father’s irony, surprised by her sons.
Her hands were startled in stupor, her horned
Torso was gleefully turned towards the dogs
That guarded her hidden dancing body,
Crowned by a sapling and her erotic nudity
Shadowed to protect her young children,
Straying through the orchard-garden,
By their maternal trinity owned.
Dr. Emily Bilman teaches poetry in Geneva, Switzerland. Her dissertation, The Psychodynamics of Poetry: Poetic Virtuality and Oedipal Sublimation in the Poetry of T.S. Eliot and Paul Valéry, was published by Lambert Academic in 2010 and Modern Ekphrasis in 2013 by Peter Lang. Her poetry books, A Woman By A Well (2015), Resilience (2015), and The Threshold of Broken Waters (2018) were published by Troubador, UK. Her poetry has appeared in The London Magazine, Poetry, Salzburg Review, Offshoots, Expanded Field, Hunger Mountain, Poetics Research and elsewhere.
Image: “Nymph and satyr,” The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1909.