I attended a creative writing workshop in October last year and one of the first tasks assigned to us was to read WB Yeats’s “Leda and the Swan” and write an interpretation of it. I ended up writing a prose poem…besides the formal features and the ahem, clear distinctions between Yeats and I, this version doesn’t stray much from the original. As it turned out when we finally submitted our pieces, I could have strayed really, really, really far. I find it hard not to be mildly annoyed with this writing–I should have been more careful in my choice of words.
Blinding white apparition, it casts a swan’s shadow on the walls. You writhe in helpless fury, drawing your thighs closer…it’s no use. The shadow soars, plumed hands pulling you apart. Acts of grotesque passion. Skin crushed under feathery nerves of steel. The shadow rises and falls – you sink, paralyzed in terrified commotion.
A heart beats over your own, quickening as yours slow down in an abyss of never-ending time. Numbness dives deeper into the walls than the keen thrusts of powerful loins.
At the end of a lifetime comes release. Magnificent wings swoop up, dark webs ready for glorious flight. You lie fallen, to be strung into verses and etched onto canvas. You’re the meat for lore.
They will look towards you Leda, when Agamemnon falls.