Leda and the Swan, a 16th century copy after a lost painting by Michelangelo
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Leda and the Swan by W. B. Yeats
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
Leda, After the Swan by Carl Phillips
in the exaggerated grace
of his weight
raised, held in
than swan, I can't say.
There was just
this barely defined
shoulder, whose feathers
came away in my hands,
and the bit of world
left beyond it, coming down
to the heat-crippled field,
ravens the precise color of
sorrow in good light, neither
black nor blue, like fallen
stitches upon it,
and the hour forever,
it seemed, half-stepping
its way elsewhere--
happening more quickly.