The part they don’t often tell

They say that Kadmos, dragon-slayer,
when he saw his daughter’s womb swell with divine fruit,
believed her not and locked her away in a tower
with only a loom to pass the hours.
She wove her coiled seduction by the Thunderer
and her Grandmother’s story as well,
Europa who was carried across the ocean
on the back of a beautiful white bull.
And when the eighth month came Semele was visited by
the Theban Lord’s adopted son, Echion,
her brother-in-law. The man
was born of serpent’s teeth and bloodshed,
quick to rage and always ready with venomous remarks.
He was ashamed of her slatternly ways,
and the odium it had brought on the whole family.
And so with Tyrian ire and to regain lost honor
he struck her,
spat on her,
cursed her
and finally kicked her in the belly.
Then, disdainfully, he left her
to a night of agony
as she birthed her son more than a month prematurely.
When her father found her the following morn
she was covered in blood and cradling the crying infant.
“Isn’t he beautiful?” she asked, shivering.
“I’ve named him Dionysos, since he is from Zeus
and will surely limp after what that snake did to him.”
Horrified, Kadmos had his men scoop them up,
dump them in a wooden chest emblazoned with a sonnenrad,
and drop it into the river.
The chest floated out to sea,
and thence to cape Malea,
where it was caught in the nets of some Satyrs.
They dragged it ashore and found the corpse of Semele,
several days gone, and her poor child still alive.
They snatched him up and rushed him
to the buxom Nymphs of Mount Taygetos
who nursed the hornéd babe back to health
like parched earth refreshed by the rain.
Together the two tribes raised him to manhood.
Eventually he grew tired of that idyllic setting
and wandered off to hunt fortune and adventure in foreign lands.
The Satyrs went out in search of him,
and eventually ended up on the Trinacrian beach
and bondsmen of the tyrant Polyphemos
as well as his brothers, the malformed
incestuous get of Poseidon.
Worse than all the lowly, dirty chores
those poor Satyrs were forced to perform
was the fact that the island had no wine;
not a drop throughout all three corners.
But then an Ithakan,
looking like a drowned rat,
floated up, clinging to a an amphora like a raft.
Over a goatskin of wine
– ambrosially sweet from long absence –
the Satyrs spilled the beans,
sharing all they knew of their master and his ways
to the immigrant terrorist.
Then the nobody was off to meet
the trumpeting One-Eyed King.
The Satyrs didn’t care,
because they had wine again.