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Poems Inspired by Titian

Hear leading contemporary poets including Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage reading their new poems inspired by Titian.

More from Poems Inspired by Titian (13 videos)

  • Seamus Heaney: This poem is called 'Actaeon' and a number of details come from Ovid's account of the event in his 'Metamorphoses'.

    'Actaeon'

    High burdened brow, the antlers that astound,
    Arms that end now in two hardened feet,
    His nifty haunches, pointed ears and fleet
    Four-legged run... In the pool he saw a crowned
    Stag’s head and heard something that groaned
    When he tried to speak. And it was no human sweat
    That steamed off him: he was like a beast in heat,
    As if he’d prowled and stalked until he found

    The grove, the grotto and the bathing place
    Of the goddess and her nymphs, as if he’d sought
    That virgin nook deliberately, as if
    His desires were hounds that had quickened pace
    On Diana’s scent before his own pack wrought
    Her vengeance on him, at bay beneath the leaf-

    lit woodland. There his branchy antlers caught
    When he faced the hounds
    That couldn’t know him as they bayed and fought
    And tore out mouthfuls of hide and flesh and blood
    From what he was, while his companions stood
    Impatient for the kill, assessing wounds.

    Poetry reading

    Seamus Heaney: 'Actaeon'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Seamus Heaney reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'Actaeon'.

     

    Hear Seamus talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9 and Titian, The Death of Actaeon, about 1559-75

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Seamus Heaney reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'Actaeon'.

     

    Hear Seamus talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9 and Titian, The Death of Actaeon, about 1559-75

    Read More
     thumbnail02:28

    Poetry reading

    Seamus Heaney: 'Actaeon'

    Movie
  • Patience Agbabi: I am Patience Agbabi reading a poem inspired mainly by the 'Diana and Actaeon' painting. It's called 'About Face (after Titian)'.

    Actaeon, you’ll pay the price for looking
    like a god; athletic, proud, immortal.
    Diana, goddess of the hunt, will hound you.
    She is too harsh; you should have looked at me.
    I am her shadow, black yet fairer than
    the mistress, clad in cloth finer than cirrus.
    I want you, Actaeon. I wish I were
    shroud white; O that you’d notice me and mouth
    each monumental curve. Her handsome face
    off-guard, you brushed aside the drape to see
    how cool she bathed; with the pool’s spray, she cursed you
    for looking. In this pine-sweet grove, you turned
    from man to horned and dappled stag: sentenced.
    Look how your fate reflects itself in water.

    Look! How your fate reflects itself in water
    from man to horned and dappled stag, sentenced
    for looking. In this pine-sweet grove, you turned.
    How cool she bathed! With the pool’s spray she cursed you.
    Off-guard, you brushed aside the drape to see
    each monumental curve, her handsome face
    shroud white. O that you’d notice me and mouth
    I want you. Actaeon, I wish I were
    the mistress clad in cloth finer than cirrus.
    I am her shadow, black yet fairer than
    she is. Too harsh! You should have looked at me.
    Diana, goddess of the hunt, will hound you
    like a god, athletic, proud, immortal.
    Actaeon, you’ll pay the price for looking.

    Poetry reading

    Patience Agbabi: 'About Face'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Patience Agbabi reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'About Face'.

     

    Hear Patience talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Patience Agbabi reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'About Face'.

     

    Hear Patience talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    Read More
     thumbnail03:22

    Poetry reading

    Patience Agbabi: 'About Face'

    Movie
  • Simon Armitage: I am Simon Armitage and this is my poem 'Diana and Actaeon' from Titian's painting of the same name.

    The whole hillside being smeared and daubed
    with the blood of the hunt, I dropped down
    to a stream whose water ran clear and cool,
    and followed its thread through a wooded fold,
    among branches dressed with pelts and skulls.
    Then stumbled headlong into that sacred grove.

    That’s when the universe pitched and groaned,
    and I shrank from cloud-coloured flesh,
    from calf and hip, curve and cleft,
    from a writhing feast of fruit and meat:
    salmon, silverside, redcurrant, peach;
    from fingers worming for gowns and robes,
    from eel and oyster, ankle and lip,
    from bulb, bud, honeycomb, nest... And flinched

    from Diana’s arm bent back like a bow,
    and flinched from Diana’s naked glare –
    a death-stare arrowed from eye to eye.
    All seen in a blink but burnt on the mind.

    The pink-red curtain of noon, drawn back,
    unleashes the white wolves of the moon.

    Poetry reading

    Simon Armitage: 'Diana and Actaeon'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Simon Armitage reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'Diana and Actaeon'.

     

    Hear Simon talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Simon Armitage reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'Diana and Actaeon'.

     

    Hear Simon talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    Read More
     thumbnail02:37

    Poetry reading

    Simon Armitage: 'Diana and Actaeon'

    Movie
  • Jo Shapcott: I am going to read a poem called 'Callisto's Song'. Callisto was a nymph who was flung up into the heavens and became a constellation. So, in order to write the poem I had to imagine what a constellation might sound like. On the page, I've translated her noise into an asterisk between every word of the poem and I hear it myself as a sort of white noise, a crunching, crackling sound. I can't speak like she probably would, but I will do my best.

    'Callisto's Song'

    * stars * stars * stars * stars * and * I *
     * am * made * of * them * now * looking *
    * down * on * myself * then * a * colorito * woman * yes *
     * that * was * me * in * my * red * sandals * the * great *
    * outdoors * curtained * golden * embroidered *
     * and * heatshimmer * above * blue * mountains *
    * nothing * vertical * not * even * the * plinth* and *
     * no * speech * no * names * then * just * a * cry *
    * as * the * busy * body * nymphs * stripped * me * because *
     * we * all * had * rounded * bellies * then * but *
    * nine * months * gone * so * my * navel * curved *
     * like * a * gash * and * o * so * noticeable *
    * among * all * the * diagonals * and * everyone *
     * looking * a * different * way * looking * a * lot *
    * especially * the * goddess * at * me * her * arrow-arm *
     * pointing * bow-mouth * strung * and * dogs * crouched *
    * because * they * sensed * consequences * and * gods *
     * arriving * and * doing * what * gods * do * upstairs * and *
    * the * artist’s * finger * loaded * and * the * paint * alive *
     * alive * with * stars * stars * stars * stars * stars *

    Poetry reading

    Jo Shapcott: 'Callisto's Song'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Jo Shapcott reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'Callisto's Song'.

     

    Hear Jo talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Callisto, 1556-9

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Jo Shapcott reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'Callisto's Song'.

     

    Hear Jo talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Callisto, 1556-9

    Read More
     thumbnail03:07

    Poetry reading

    Jo Shapcott: 'Callisto's Song'

    Movie
  • Tony Harrison: Well, originally when someone got in touch with me I said, ‘Oh, I’ll do The Flaying of Marsyas’, which is my favourite Titian. They said, ‘Oh no, that’s not in the exhibition’. So, I looked at the others, and as soon as I looked at 'Diana and Actaeon' I saw the only eyes looking out at the viewer were sockets, astounding. I’m very used to responding to images and I said how long do you want? If it had been longer I would have responded maybe to more elements of it, but I wanted to focus on that thing which is slightly hidden, seems to be hidden, but is actually incredibly prominent.

    Actaeon stares at the stag skull, the flayed skin
    above the nymph who dries Diana’s shin.

    I mean, I’m happy to retire the poem and let the Titian work its own magic.

    Inspired by Titian

    Tony Harrison

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Tony Harrison describing his creative process and how he drew inspiration from the artist.

     

    Hear Tony reading his poem 'Diana and Actaeon'.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Tony Harrison describing his creative process and how he drew inspiration from the artist.

     

    Hear Tony reading his poem 'Diana and Actaeon'.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    Read More
     thumbnail02:08

    Inspired by Titian

    Tony Harrison

    Movie
  • Wendy Cope: I am Wendy Cope and my poem is a sonnet called 'Actaeon’s Lover'.

    I am the one half hidden by a pillar,
    Gazing out at him with loving eyes,
    Alarmed, although I cannot see his killer
    Reacting to the terrible surprise.
    A man! My secret love, who loved me too.
    He used to meet me by a certain tree.
    That day I couldn’t make our rendezvous
    Because the goddess said she needed me.
    He searched the woods and stumbled on this place.
    You know the rest: the dreadful way he died.
    This moment: the last time I saw his face
    Before the horror of the horns, the hide.
    I rage and mourn. There can be no redress
    Against divine Diana, murderess.

    Poetry reading

    Wendy Cope: 'Actaeon's Lover'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Wendy Cope reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'Actaeon's Lover'.

     

    Hear Wendy talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Wendy Cope reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'Actaeon's Lover'.

     

    Hear Wendy talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    Read More
     thumbnail02:03

    Poetry reading

    Wendy Cope: 'Actaeon's Lover'

    Movie
  • Frances Leviston: My name’s Frances Leviston, and this poem is called 'Woodland Burial'.

    Thrown water touched him and where it touched it said
    his body was the same brownness leaves turn
    when autumn is upon us, a swept-up heap
    trembling where it stood,
    that when the huntress concentrated
    trees, tree-shadows, underbrush and bushes made a wood
    and it was ever thus, that nothing can be other than as known
    by a god, no truth a lie, no death long sleep.

    Poised with springy longbow drawn
    and back to the sun, the one who had revealed her form
    from landscape or eyes
    independent as a streak of white paint on a mirror
    held him on her gaze
    and held the torn canopy of clouds on the water
    how she might have kept a spoonful of honey in the warm
    fold of her tongue before it dissipated.

    Not the greatest possible harm,
    which needs to be known and named as such
    to achieve its end, not what he fled, but the unofficial crime,
    the moment she let her attention crop
    those deep recursive avenues of beech to a backdrop
    he broke against, confused,
    so nothing in the landscape escaped his touch
    and nothing left of him was in the picture she composed.

    Poetry reading

    Frances Leviston: 'Woodland Burial'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Frances Leviston reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'Woodland Burial'.

     

    Hear Frances talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, The Death of Actaeon, about 1559-75

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Frances Leviston reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'Woodland Burial'.

     

    Hear Frances talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, The Death of Actaeon, about 1559-75

    Read More
     thumbnail02:42

    Poetry reading

    Frances Leviston: 'Woodland Burial'

    Movie
  • Don Paterson: My name’s Don Paterson. This is a poem inspired by 'The Death of Actaeon' and I guess it is a poem about desire and transgression and the way they’re bound closely together. It’s also about comeuppance. I would say it’s a poem of middle age.

    'A Call'

    A winter train. A gale, a poacher’s moon.
    The black glass. Do I honestly still blame
    the wrong turn in the changing rooms I took
    when I was six, and stood too long to look?
    The scream Miss Venner loosed at me. ‘The nerve!’
    I was ablaze. And it was worth the shame,
    I thought; of course I did. It was too soon
    to tell the dream from what I’d paid for it.
    Then soon too late. Two sides of the same door.
    So was it the recoil or the release
    That lashed the world so out of shape? Tonight
    I stare right through the face that I deserve
    as all my ghost dogs gather at the shore,
    behind them the whole sea like the police.

    Poetry reading

    Don Paterson: 'A Call'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Don Paterson reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'A Call'.

     

    Hear Don talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, The Death of Actaeon, about 1559-75

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Don Paterson reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'A Call'.

     

    Hear Don talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, The Death of Actaeon, about 1559-75

    Read More
     thumbnail02:26

    Poetry reading

    Don Paterson: 'A Call'

    Movie
  • George Szirtes: I chose to write about Titian’s 'Diana and Actaeon' because it’s a painting about discovery and desire. And it made me think of John Donne’s lines about a lover – ‘O, my America, my Newfoundland’ – which is about finding the naked body.

    'Actaeon'

    'O, my America, my Newfoundland'
    John Donne, Elegy 20

    O, my America, discovered by slim chance,
    behind, as it seemed, a washing line
    I shoved aside without thinking –
    does desire have thoughts or define
    its object, consuming all in a glance?

    You, with your several flesh sinking
    upon itself in attitudes of hurt,
    while the dogs at my heels
    growl at the strange red shirt
    under a horned moon, you, drinking

    night water – tell me what the eye steals
    or borrows. What can’t we let go
    without protest? My own body turns
    against me as I sense it grow
    contrary. Whatever night reveals

    is dangerously toothed. And so the body burns
    as if torn by sheer profusion of skin
    and cry. It wears its ragged dress
    like something it once found comfort in,
    the kind of comfort even a dog learns

    by scent. So flesh falls away, ever less
    human, like desire itself, though pain
    still registers in the terrible balance
    the mind seems so reluctant to retain,
    o, my America, my nakedness!

    Poetry reading

    George Szirtes: 'Actaeon'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear George Szirtes reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'Actaeon'.

     

    Hear George talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear George Szirtes reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'Actaeon'.

     

    Hear George talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    Read More
     thumbnail02:55

    Poetry reading

    George Szirtes: 'Actaeon'

    Movie
  • Sinéad Morrissey: I am Sinéad Morrissey. The poem I wrote is based on the painting 'Diana and Actaeon' and on the story depicted in that painting.

    'Diana and Actaeon'

    It could be over Strangford Lough:
    that hoop of sky beyond the archway
    with its midsummer blue of a northern country
    and corridor of clouds

    and Actaeon the servant
    standing slack-jawed in the doorway
    having stupidly dropped the chocolate tray—
    a whole life’s wages’ worth of china

    exploding in confetti
    no praying to all the Saints in Heaven
    might possibly take back, lift up, undo,
    obliterate—

    like the sight of his reverend mistress
    caught languidly in flagrante
    with five of the shyest housemaids
    and a cousin from the city.

    Stone animals crouched in the dusky gardens
    cover their ears. And immediately
    he sees, in the uplifted anvil
    of her naked heel, his punishment—

    whipping, stocking, damaged hands,
    a four-day journey south, or, if he’s lucky,
    a sign slung round his neck
    —houseboy for hire—

    out in Van Diemen’s Land.

    Poetry reading

    Sinéad Morrissey: 'Diana and Actaeon'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Sinéad Morrissey reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'Diana and Actaeon'.

     

    Hear Sinéad talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9 

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Sinéad Morrissey reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'Diana and Actaeon'.

     

    Hear Sinéad talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9 

    Read More
     thumbnail02:52

    Poetry reading

    Sinéad Morrissey: 'Diana and Actaeon'

    Movie
  • Hugo Williams: I really had no inspiration for this poem at all until I thought of all these Renoir-esque lovelies as a kind of beauty contest containing all the girls I’ve ever known: all my girlfriends. And then it occurred to me that they could be holding up their year, as in a conventional beauty contest, holding up their year and smiling attractively.

    And the poem, which was one I wrote about forty years ago, originally had a last couple of lines which was ‘very old one in a bedjacket / held up her hand to go to the lavatory’ and I decided to leave that out and just keep the attractive ones.

    'Actaeon'

    I thought of all my girlfriends
    gathered together on a stage,
    each of them holding up her year
    and smiling attractively.
    I lifted one corner of the curtain
    and there they all were,
    but shy and resentful now,
    covering themselves from my sight.

    ‘I didn’t know you girls all
    knew one another,’ I said,
    seeing only a tumble of looks and limbs.
    ‘What are you doing here?’
    They answered that they might as well
    ask me the same question.
    What was the matter?
    Couldn’t I make up my mind?

    If I had stood my ground
    and said nothing, or claimed
    to be just passing through,
    I might have escaped their mockery,
    I might have been forgiven.
    Alas, I fled the scene,
    dogged by indecision and regret,
    torn apart by my imaginings.

    Poetry reading

    Hugo Williams: 'Actaeon'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Hugo Williams reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'Actaeon'.

     

    Hear Hugo talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Hugo Williams reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'Actaeon'.

     

    Hear Hugo talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Actaeon, 1556-9

    Read More
     thumbnail02:27

    Poetry reading

    Hugo Williams: 'Actaeon'

    Movie
  • Lavinia Greenlaw: My poem is about Titian’s depiction of Callisto.

    'The Dark'

    What was I in their story? The dark.
    An electric unknown, a girl
    who slipped off the path and found
    herself alone in the forest’s locked room,
    who set aside her quiver and bow
    and lay down. When I woke
    the world was in bright version.
    I believed what I saw. He was not
    what I saw. My body opened.
    It was not my body. I became
    a question that must not be asked
    of the gods. I grew ripe with it.
    I lost my place, my people.
    I took the white ribbon from my hair.
    Yet to her I was still what lit him.
    She reached down and obscured my form.
    My voice at first gaudy with argument
    took on a rip, wrench and boom.
    My body warped and cracked.
    I was sinew and claw, my odour
    that of a crowded cave in winter.
    I was night torn from day.
    I ran to escape my own shadow.
    The beasts of the forest drove me out.
    The villagers barred their doors.
    The gods turned the page.

    Poetry reading

    Lavinia Greenlaw: 'The Dark'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Lavinia Greenlaw reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'The Dark'.

     

    Hear Lavinia talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Callisto, 1556-9

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Lavinia Greenlaw reading from her Titian-inspired poem 'The Dark'.

     

    Hear Lavinia talking about the process of writing her poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, Diana and Callisto, 1556-9

    Read More
     thumbnail02:47

    Poetry reading

    Lavinia Greenlaw: 'The Dark'

    Movie
  • Christopher Reid: This poem is called 'The Change' and it’s about Titian’s great painting 'The Death of Actaeon'. In it, I put words into the mouth of the painter himself. So, imagine that he’s in his studio, taking a visitor around, showing him this painting, which is still unfinished and leaning against the wall.

    The goddess with her killer glare:

    no problem there. I’ve seen that look myself
    often enough, aimed straight at me,
    and it wasn’t hard to swivel it
    through ninety degrees and fix it in profile.
    (That dinky quiver, wrong size for the bow,
    I’ll adjust later.) The dogs, too, I can handle,
    if I can keep the brushwork fluent:
    less a pack of them than a flood, a torrent,
    of muscular flanks and backs and squabbling
    yelps and scent-maddened muzzles
    dragging your man down. Now, he’s the trouble,
    which is why I’ve put him in the middle distance,
    an arrow’s flight away. He’s turning into a stag.
    But how do you do that, exactly?
    Head first, as I’ve tried here, following Ovid?
    Ping! – he’s got antlers and a long neck,
    but the rest of his body’s slow on the uptake,
    so he’s left looking less like prey brought low
    than some tipsy idiot taking a spill at a carnival?
    Forget it. What I want is the change itself,
    when he’s neither man nor beast, or somehow both at once,
    and you don’t just see but feel the combined
    horror and justice of his fate. Some way to go.
    Never mind, I’ll be patient. It can wait.

    Poetry reading

    Christopher Reid: 'The Change'

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Christopher Reid reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'The Change'.

     

    Hear Christopher talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, The Death of Actaeon, about 1559-75

    About the video:

     

    Leading contemporary poets have been invited to respond to three Titian paintings inspired by the Diana myth.

     

    Hear Christopher Reid reading from his Titian-inspired poem 'The Change'.

     

    Hear Christopher talking about the process of writing his poem.

     

    Find out more about the exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

     

    More about Titian, The Death of Actaeon, about 1559-75

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    Poetry reading

    Christopher Reid: 'The Change'

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