Leda

Original Text: 
Collected Poems of H.D. (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1925): 174-75. York University Library Special Collections 4928.
2meets the tide,
3a red swan lifts red wings
4and darker beak,
5and underneath the purple down
6of his soft breast
7uncurls his coral feet.
8Through the deep purple
9of the dying heat
10of sun and mist,
11the level ray of sun-beam
12has caressed
13the lily with dark breast,
14and flecked with richer gold
15its golden crest.
16Where the slow lifting
17of the tide,
18floats into the river
19and slowly drifts
20among the reeds,
21and lifts the yellow flags,
22he floats
23where tide and river meet.
24Ah kingly kiss --
25no more regret
26nor old deep memories
27to mar the bliss;
28where the low sedge is thick,
29the gold day-lily
30outspreads and rests
31beneath soft fluttering
32of red swan wings
33and the warm quivering
34of the red swan's breast.

Notes

1] Leda, whom Zeus saw, the wife of a king of Sparta, naked in the Eurotas river. Zeus took the form of a swan to seduce her, begetting Castor, Pollux, and Helen, the subject of another of H.D.'s lyrics. W. B. Yeats' "Leda and the Swan" depicts the violence of the rapein contrast to what H.D. sees. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1919
Publication Notes: 
Chapbook 1.1 (July 1919): 10-11
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2000.
Rhyme: