Shapcott, Thomas W.

Australia, (b. 1935)

4. The Titian Venus & Adonis

  1. He is a teenager, your own son.
  2. Because he rips out now with his dogs
  3. you jerk into the urgency of his boast:
  4. loving was not energy, it was too quick.
  5. He promises nothing less than trophy,
  6. something outrageous: say the tusks
  7. of the Ancestral Pig.
  8.  
  9. Venus must say nothing. Hunger.
  10. She must hold back as if appetite were shameful.
  11. Her want could swallow him. She has at least
  12. taught him. Adonis dead
  13. will have muscles that seem
  14. never to have been occupied.
  15. That is the anguish of parents, of lovers.
  16. Not even anger can rip at your own future
  17. like his shout.

Editor’s Note:

This poem is from the group of poems called “Metropolitan Museum Pictures.” Titian’s painting of Venus and Adonis can be seen at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

 Thomas W. Shapcott. Travel Dice. St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press (1987).

About the Poet:

Thomas William Shapcott, Australia, (b. 1935), is a poet, novelist, playwright, editor, librettist, short story writer and teacher.

Shapcott completed an accountancy degree in 1961 and in 1967 he graduated in arts from the University of Queensland. He then worked as a tax accountant, a profession that he pursued for 27 years, specializing in taxation advice for writers, artists and academics.

Shapcott’s first collection of poems, Time on Fire (1961), won the Grace Leven Poetry Prize for that year. In 1997 Shapcott became the inaugural Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide, retiring from the position in 2005.

Director of the Australia Council’s Literature Board for seven years, Shapcott was also the Executive Director of the National Book Council (1992-97). He was Professor of Creative Writing at Adelaide University. Shapcott has written 15 collections of poetry, 6 novels and many short stories, libretti, plays and reviews. [DES-04/18]

Additional information:

A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.