William Butler Yeats was born rich, and studied the classics in school. But what if Billy had been Irish poor? Such was the lot of fellow poet, Art Bupkis*.
Leda McGillicutty and The Swan**
A sudden blow: The great wing-beating stills
Beneath the fallen axe. Soon legs are dressed
To the dark webs; and relieved of its quills,
She holds his de-boned breast before her breasts.
See how her countrified, sage fingers push
Gelled clots from disarticulated thighs?
And why not a turd, dropped from that white tush,
Be but sponged off his stilled heart as it fries?
His buttered, roasting loins engender dares
To steal choice bits; the strong will soon but glower,
And snag a pinion, head.
Being so cut up,
So rendered by the brute Gael as by bears,
Did he vomit on her gaunt hands puke sour
Before his worthless beak in the mud she dropped?
Leda and The Swan by Wm. B. Yeats
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?
** This swan may have been poached from a lord's pond, but were I an animal transmorphing god, I'd mind my manners around hungry Celtic women. At least take the poor winch to dinner first! >;-) >
Bupkis, Art (L. R. Baxter): “Leda McGillicutty and the Swan”. in, Sixty-Six : The Journal of Sonnet Studies Vol. 11, #2, 2009. Copyright L. R. Baxter
Published with permission.