Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Leda, After the Swan

Perhaps,
in the exaggerated grace
of his weight
settling,

the wings
raised, held in
strike-or-embrace
position,

I recognized
something more
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--

then
everything, I
remember, began
happening more quickly.

Credit


From In the Blood by Carl Phillips, published by Northeastern University Press. Copyright © 1992 by Carl Phillips. Reprinted with the permission of Northeastern University Press. All rights reserved.

Author


Carl Phillips

Born on July 23, 1959, Carl Phillips's collection The Rest of Love won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry.

Date Published: 1992-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/leda-after-swan