Leda, After the Swan

Carl Phillips

 
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.

Poems by This Author

And It Begins Like This by Carl Phillips
At Bay by Carl Phillips
Coral-bells purpled the fallen sycamore leaves, dead, the dead
Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm by Carl Phillips
So that each / is its own, now--each has fallen, blond stillness.
Civilization by Carl Phillips
There's an art
Cloud Country by Carl Phillips
If a Wilderness by Carl Phillips
Then spring came
Passing by Carl Phillips
When the Famous Black Poet speaks,
Porcelain by Carl Phillips
As when a long forgetfulness lifts suddenly, and what
Surrounded as we are, unlit, unshadowed by Carl Phillips
Squalor of leaves


Further Reading

Related Poems
Leda and the Swan
by W. B. Yeats
A Woman Named Thucydides
by Sherod Santos
Wild Swans
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Poems about Birds
Tender Buttons [Chicken]
by Gertrude Stein
Littlefoot, 19, [This is the bird hour]
by Charles Wright
Rocket Fantastic [excerpt]
by Gabrielle Calvocoressi
The Scarlet Ibis, Section VII
by Susan Hahn
A Bird came down the Walk (328)
by Emily Dickinson
A Bird in Hand
by Amber Flora Thomas
A Peacock in Spring
by Joyelle McSweeney
Albatross in Co. Antrim
by Robin Robertson
Birdcall
by Alicia Suskin Ostriker
Birding at the Dairy
by Sidney Wade
Birds Again
by Jim Harrison
Birds Appearing In A Dream
by Michael Collier
Black bird, red wing
by Nickole Brown
Darwin's Finches
by Deborah Digges
Dispatches from Devereux Slough
by Mark Jarman
Dove, Interrupted
by Lucie Brock-Broido
Evening Hawk
by Robert Penn Warren
Ground Birds in Open Country
by Stanley Plumly
Gulls
by William Carlos Williams
Hardware Sparrows
by R. T. Smith
Home to Roost
by Kay Ryan
Hope is the thing with feathers (254)
by Emily Dickinson
Hummingbird
by Elaine Terranova
I am Like a Desert Owl, an Owl Among the Ruins
by Noelle Kocot
If the Owl Calls Again
by John Haines
In Flight
by Jennifer K. Sweeney
In the Memphis Airport
by Timothy Steele
Interlude
by Edith Sitwell
Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens
by Jack Prelutsky
Leda and the Swan
by W. B. Yeats
Let Birds
by Linda Gregg
My Mother Would Be a Falconress
by Robert Duncan
Ode to a Nightingale
by John Keats
Paper Swallow
by Stanley Moss
Poet as Immortal Bird
by Ron Padgett
Red-Legged Kittiwake
by Emily Wilson
Revision in My Wife's Powder Room
by Lauren Berry
Small Study
by Emily Wilson
Song of the Owl
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Sympathy
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy
The Eagle
by Lord Alfred Tennyson
The Heron
by Linda Hogan
The Life So Short...
by Eamon Grennan
The Nightingale
by Sir Philip Sidney
The Parakeets
by Alberto Blanco
The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Sparrow
by Gerald Stern
The Starlings
by Jesper Svenbro
The Windhover
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The Yellow Bittern (An Bunnan Bui)
by Cathal Bui Mac Giolla Gunna
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
by Wallace Stevens
Three Moves
by John Logan
Tigers
by Melissa Ginsburg
To a Skylark
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
To a Waterfowl
by William Cullen Bryant
White Stork
by Michael Waters
Wild Swans
by Edna St. Vincent Millay