Wednesday, June 13, 2012

W. B. Yeats, born 147 years ago today...

Leda and the Swan

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?

William Butler Yeats

Leda and the Swan, 1963 by Cy Twombly 


  1. Ah, Yeats. One of the 'loves' of my life!

  2. amazing drawing and fabulous poem. was it really that long ago! yikes. for some reason i thought he was still tottering around when i was on this earth, but no. a powerful man.

  3. thank you for commemorating poets on their birthdays/death days.

  4. This was a pleasant surprise. Haven’t read this till now.

  5. Replies
    1. Blogger would not allow me to post my comment, so sorry! Technology often escapes me. Yeats, such a favourite and what gifts he left to us.

  6. A birth of words (poems) through drawings of little fingers (I guess that's the one that drew it )
    Perfect !

  7. Happy belated birthday, Mr. Yates!

  8. I really like the graphic.
    Never read this poem in high school --- unfortunately.


  9. can not get the meaning, but thanks for sharing

  10. Perhaps writing about sex - among other things - was permissible if you dressed it in mythology.
    It's powerful, all the same.

  11. i'm reminded, in reading the great poets, of how much poetry is hiding from our world today. i have to seek it out. thank you for providing a place for me to find it. Namaste'

  12. a handful of pencils and 100 sheets of foolscap
    bundled into a package, tied with ribbon.

    see that he gets it, ok?

  13. Haven't read this before, but it's interesting.
    I love Yeats' poetry.
    Incidentally, he attended the same high school that my kids now go to!


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)