Poems Inspired by Titian: Patience Agbabi | Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 | The National Gallery


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *