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Ganymede and the Eagle

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This is my response to Yeats's "Leda and the Swan." Less a response, really, and more of a... er... imitation, I suppose. But those of you into Greek mythology will know that Zeus, as a swan, managed to copulate with Leda, the queen of Sparta; the resulting brood included Clytemnestra and Helen of Troy. You might also know about the story of Ganymede and Zeus, wherein Zeus became infatuated with a beautiful Trojan boy, swooped down as an eagle, and brought him up as the cup-bearer of the gods. It's a manifestation of "the unspeakable vice of the Greeks." This is really only an idea I put rather hurriedly into form, but I rather wanted to share it with all of you...


A sudden blow: the great wings bear

The startled boy into the air, his head thrown back,

And arms flung out upon the wings,

The talons gently part the thighs.

How can the drowsy eyes open in protest,

When breath is caught by darkling winds?

And how can body, swept upon a piercing cry,

But forget the rolling earth beneath?

A shudder in the loins: the wings beat still.

The great beak turns towards the sun,

And still the eyes are closed.

Being so caught up,

So mastered by the brute blood of the air,

Did he dream the sorrows left behind

Would melt before the heavenly sheen?


The original "Leda and the Swan:"



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