@ 27.055 MHz: Ad Astra; Devoured In Venice

[after Thomas Mann's novella, Death In Venice]

While the choicest oysters are prepared in the

kitchen to be devoured in this Venetian hotel's

dining hall, they have agreed that the only---and the

most beautiful---pearls to be obtained in this vicinity

are Tadzio and Jaschu walking on the deserted beach,

totally oblivious to the prejudices of prudes and haters:

Tadzio and Jaschu, summer boyfriends, walking together

along the water's edge; Tadzio and Jaschu, clad in their

dinner hour clothing---shirts frontally unbuttoned, tails

untucked from their pressed and pleated dress slacks;

semi-sheer socks sheathed their slender and eagerly

unshod feet (each of them has abandoned shoes), as the

sun sets in Venice, and the dying old man, Von Aschenbach,

marvels that the grandeur of the constellated sky

succumbs to the adolescent beauty of Tadzio and Jaschu,

boyfriends in summer love, and oysters are devoured in Venice.


Author's Notes/Comments: 

This poem was inspired by Thomas Mann's novella, Death In Venice, in which I believe the novelist fails by bringing the summer romance of Tadzio and Jaschu to a too abrupt and untenable conclusion.

View j-c4113d's Full Portfolio
patriciajj's picture

So much brews under the

So much brews under the surface of this tranquil, atmospheric and enveloping scene that is felt as much as it is seen through the eyes of a wistful observer.  


Even joyless puritans cannot defile the perilously beautiful, immaculately emotive moment on the beach, with details such as oysters, possible pearls on the beach and formal attire, unfettered or discarded, do double duty as powerful symbols.


The delicately smoldering images and the brilliant personification of a sky upstaged by young love was poetry, and storytelling, at its finest.


A magnificent addition to the series.

J-C4113d's picture

Thank you very much.  I

Thank you very much.  I really appreciate your comment on this one.  I am both fascinated by Mann's story, primarily due to the presence of Tadzio and Jaschu, and repelled by it due to Mann's shabby disrespect for them at the end.  I think he gave in to prudery at the end.  

    When Joe Goebels and the clowns of tthe Third Reich started burning books on May 10th of '33, Mann's novella was among them.  Despite its flaws, it dd not deserve that kind of treatment; and, despite Goebels' best efforts, it did not die with the book burnings.

    Have you seen the Visconti film?  It is beautiful, although the eventual breach between Tadzio and Jaschu is difficult to watch.  I usually rewind the DVR before I get there.


patriciajj's picture

I've never seen the film, but

I've never seen the film, but if you appreciate the story, I'm certain it has great merit. However, I find it unacceptable that the author showed any kind of intolerance and narrowness in his writing. 


Unfortunately the brown shirts, under new a name, have made a terrifying comeback and I'm sure that somewhere in the US, Mann's novella is targeted, if not banned. I'm glad you are keeping it alive through your poetry.


It was a joy and a privilege to comment on this compelling, deeply moving, work.