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.
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.
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