Explication of Yeat’s “Leda and the Swan”

Yeats constructs “Leda and the Swan” around an allusion to the events central to Homer’s The Iliad, for the offspring engendered from the mythological forceful rape perpetrated by Zeus as swan upon the vulnerable Leda is Helen of Sparta whose willing defection ultimately crumbles the Trojan fortress. The parallel to Judeo-Christian lore is noteworthy: the spirit of God in the form of a white bird impregnating a virgin, the resultant child of historical import.

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?

W. B. Yeats —

The poem’s first two quatrains relate Leda’s helplessness within a flurry of feathers, the closing septet: the aftermath. The dizzying rape rages within the sonnet’s pithiness. “A sudden blow” propels the attack in media res the moment that Leda is buffeted by Divine will (1). The phrase snatches the reader’s attention to the violent indifference of rape notwithstanding its heavenly origin. The alliterative parallel of “blow” and “beating” compressed in the first line highlights the clash against the edge of divine knowledge, an implicit meaning of the poem. Any tenderness suggested in “thighs caressed” is immediately challenged by metonymic portioning of the avian incarnation, the darkness of the webbed feet: webs suggestive of capture, not a willing interaction on the part of the virgin. Yeats then immediately proves the capturing motif with Zeus’ beak clamping another tender point of erogeneity. The last line of the first quatrain rounds the concerns of capture and awkward intimacy with more alliteration: “He holds her helpless breast upon his breast,” ensnarement in the H’s and impingement in the B’s — the thoracic repetition stresses the union, and more to the theme of approaching godlike power, the terror (4).

The first line of the second continues contemplating the terror but in light of the disparity between the spiritual and the mundane by reversing expectations of reality, for the somatic attributes of Leda become insubstantial: her fingers “vague,” her thighs “loosening,” under the assault of the incarnated “white rush,” the spiritual blood propelled by heartbeat. Other snapshot phrases amidst the violent incursion underscore the disparity between god and mortal. The hurled bolts show up in certain bestial phraseology: “The great wings beating”, “dark webs”, “feathered glory” and a “white rush” (1-7). These make myth corporal.

Oppositely, Leda is helpless against divine concupiscence; relegated to weak phraseology: “the staggering girl”, “caught” and “helpless” (2-4). The mystery of intimacy between the spirit and the clay contemplated by the poet appears in “Did she put on his knowledge with his power / Before the indifferent beak could let her drop ?”; by posing the question at the end, Yeats plants a seed of contemplation within the reader’s mind, thereby extending the poems affect on the reader.

A shudder in the loins” marks the climax destined to spark war in Ileum some years hence (9). The progeny of this ill-fated union will generate crumbling Trojan walls, mentioned in synecdochic fragments: “broken wall” (10), “burning roof and tower” and “Agamemnon dead” (10-11).

*[ WSB ].

The Feature Retired, Fifteen Netflix Reviews before


Before the Flood

You rated this movie:

Oh dear, the ostriches dig their heads deeper, sand scratching sclera, instead of appraising the media. Five stars for urgency. One does not need to be a trained musician or artist to make a documentary about classical music or cubists; that’s where previous study and interviews come to the fore, from an almost ubiquitous chorus of EXPERTS that say that the majority of current climate change [moving at lightspeed compared to those ice core snapshots of climate cycles on geological time scales] is, indeed, manmade. Some flatlanders may never believe in roundness, even after viewing an arc for themselves, after rides to the edge of space soon become available; such is the nature of delusion.


A Very Murray Christmas

You rated this movie:

Very sly, honest, asymmetrical joy—Christmas askew. Some sincere carols, but most are quirky. Murray always interests.


The Tiger

You rated this movie:

Are curmudgeon critics enamored with the word “glowing” ? The reason for the glowing reviews is because it glows. Acting. Pacing. Effects. Grit. Plot. Editing. Well, a list that glows. Come to think of it, the tiger did kind of levitate:  I’m ok with that. Documentaries are real, fiction is fiction. Expectation therein.



You rated this movie:

The very opposite of “Daemonium,” splendidly done — very entertaining and thought provoking. No spoon-feeding here, imagination required. Wonderful performances and direction. Endings ? O, the modern crowd, “2001: A Space Odyssey” would not have a chance these days. If the movie was tied up in a nice bow at the end, I guarantee most would forget the film in minutes; as it is, it crawls around your noggin for a while and may remain.


I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

You rated this movie:

A spectacular spectre film that experiments with structure, frames within frames, circular and open-ended. It’s like decay viewed within golden amber, so beautifully does the movie unfold like a flower destined to “fall apart.” Particularly, much of the dialogue is lyrically succinct, mesmerizing. For the (many it would seem) detractors of this understated gem, as Charley Sheen said in Two and a Half Men [S1E7], “I understand.”


The Tribe

You rated this movie:

I endured this to the end. I do not recommend that you do the same. This movie is just terrible. Unless you fancy queasiness induced by witnessing depraved humans acting out. The director favors nihilism distilled in long, unblinking shots that study humanity’s bestial edge. Pointless, banal misery despite the sign-language gimmick posing as edgy.


The Forbidden Room

You rated this movie:

There are so many classics and masterpieces available during one’s short stay; why squander precious hours on a movie that only aspires to be completely different, that’s the nutshell of the approach. The senses and contemplation of each person must name that which is art. Alas, the language of this film is foreign to my ears. It exists for those who find continuity disheartening and embrace the quantum uncertainty of packets of jest dribbled indeterminant on a roll of celluloid, then edited in the manner of a lead guitarist that gets all shake-weight orgasmic with wah-wah, fuzz and feedback effects as his fingers speed pointlessly up and down scales, instead of serving a holistic product to delight the audience. Enjoy a dose of modernity !



You rated this movie:

Excellent film. An aesthetic tied-bow closing is not required, and many times counterproductive. A meditation on the human condition. Well-made in all respects. Art !


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

You rated this movie:

Spectacular film. Everything is done spot-on. A film that makes you treasure life, the thousands of small joys that fill everyone’s, if they’d pay attention. Cathartic for the 9-11 national loss, but with affirmation to continue on. Thomas Horn’s performance was tremendous; it goes in my list of great young performances; The Whale Rider’s Keisha Castle-Hughes comes to mind. Well, I’m off to Amazon.com to get the book to read. In short, this movie is highly recommended: it visits most human emotions with aplomb.



You rated this movie:

Work of art ! I heartily concur with the 5-star crowd. The gulf between haters and lovers always baffles. I just wish more films had this level of direction, acting, and cinematic realization. That, my friends, is where the accolades come from. A gem.



You rated this movie:

A striking film. An aesthetic gem that drips noir starkly into cerebral action. The bold animation explores ethical questions typical of science fiction that promises to become the science of tomorrow, sooner rather than later. The solid plot entertains well enough; however, the animation contains enough imagination and competence to recommend it alone. So, to sum up: fantastic art with stylistic rendering, plus a compelling story, sound, and voice acting.



You rated this movie:

Beautiful and quirky. Looks like a love-it-or-hate-it movie by the ratings; reminds me of the critical split for “Blue Velvet.” Answers in nightmares. I love the dangerous kids across the lake and the child vampire.


Robot & Frank

You rated this movie:

Beautiful movie where Frank Langella shines. The movie touches on: the sadness of mental reality ebbing away before the body does; the nature of relationships with artificial intelligence; and the cost and benefits of crime. Besides, Susan Sarandon is always a bonus to any movie she is in.


Citizen Kane

You rated this movie: 

Astonishing ! The greatest movie ever made is a mystery about loss, self-exile and the limits of wealth. A tragedy with comedy. A mystery about a single word that may sum up a person’s life. Mercurial and perfectly balanced. A mythic masterpiece that embodies all cinematic elements with aplomb: screenplay, cinematography, music, acting, direction, editing; and, more than anything: innovation. Welles flawlessly achieves overall composition with many standout scenes, yet never losing focus on the fall of one man. Monolithic.



You rated this movie: 

“Life isn’t linear, it’s sideways.” — Nicolas Roeg Roeg’s movies study the human condition in montage. The jump cuts reveal continuity in apparently disparate events, insightful planning from the director. Fine film for aesthetes.

*Sad Boy

SAD BOY DEPENDS ON LOLA.   Many days he doesn’t feel like the ole rise and shine, and most likely would rarely get out of bed if not for her.   Lola is his protectress.   She prods him onward for their daily travels of new adventure.   Like a cherub with a flaming sword, she shields him from the riffraff in the alleyways.   Sad Boy does not like people either.

        A bit peckish one day, Lola gets trapped and taken away.   Sad Boy falls apart; depressed.   Fortunately, the humans notice and set Lola free. Reunited—Sad Boy recovers and looks happier every day.SadBoy

*Based on a YouTube story from The Dodo | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyUlM1RAGUE

*[ WSB ].

Death, Birth, Milestones, Declining Years: Sinn Blwch Rappel

The death of Rappel is not so much of an instant surcease, as a gradual fizzing out from the now. Over the years, as words loosen and then break away from his sensual hold on them, Sinn increasingly feels lost in the corridors of an immense maze cobbled together by the very same trails he used to know so well, remembering things. His final days though, are a tip-of-tongue experience where memories become mirages that vanish when neared.



The scythe and shroud at dusk
and the grinning countenance of bone:
the gossamer-wrapped husk
constitutes an artifact of oblivion.

THE NOVEL OF HIS LIFE starts to fade in the last chapter, font pixels evaporating, misting the very eyes that scan frantically to finish the book, the final paragraphs just barely discernible rows of glyphs, the erasure steady until the last page presents a frightening white vista. He walks on deeper into his final memory, the snow crunching underfoot, until even that familiar sound is replaced by the hiss of oblivion: absolute zero. Kelvin ZZZZZZZ evermore, sometimes a one. More 1’s later/earlier: sporadically; more often. Matrix of Cantor infinities.

01000010 01101001 01101110
01100001 01110010 01111001

Creatio ex nihilo —
a balloon blown from black,
one expands from zero:
the cosmos from a culdesac.


Amnesiac baseline hum,
the bell chimes, the carriage tracks.
Logic gates open and plumb;
the novel fills from clicks ‘n clacks.




Dimpled gastrula:
the vermiform germ layers
unfold a new life.
Embryonic heart rhythmic —
the soul climbs the neural tube.

AN INFANT RELUCTANTLY LEAVES his incubatory, dark warmth to enter a frightening, noisy coldness, the comforting, heart-beat tides of the maternal ocean cease, and the dryness of oxygen flow into his wailing lungs. The muffled sensory data floods into his pinkish-gray wrinkles in a curious manner, right from the first; his sensations, like his neurons, twist upon one another architecturally. Synesthesia: hearing colors or seeing music or tasting touches. The delivery room sounds red-shifted, Mother’s touch, marshmallow.

Of course, everyone experiences intersecting senses during the 49-day rebirth gauntlet, the karmic weigh-station, when the seductresses and demons cavort and affront your undead soul, probably uninitiated. However, in life-life, swirling senses are most rare.

49 Days

wrathful diety

The text of death and rebirth
spells the test on the Bardo
plane. The peaceful deities
followed short by the wrathful:
existence interrupted;
the radiant-Godhead soul —
recognize or be reborn.

THUS, BLWCH MAKES HIS EXIT and entrance within the samsara drama.


knits the neural network strings,
mixes media.

RAPPEL’S SPLICED WIRES change like the stairs and hallways of Escher, Hogwarts: zero-gravity synapses. No lapses, all of the senses connect for unique integration of scattered input.

“Senses working overtime” — Andy Partridge

Sensory-Deprivation Chamber:

IN THE INTERUTERINE CLIME of brine where the tiny reside, the amnion dampens sensation. The fish gills flapping.
Napping . . .



Altered: The Destruction of Leviathan by Gustave Doré (1865)

In the belly of the whale
Sol rests for a while,
’til Leviathan expels
brightness from entrails.

the space around you | the space you fill  Ʒ

Month mammal mumbles mama.


BLWCH REALIZED MATERIAL PERMANANCE quickly—sensation beyond his eyes. Aristotelian penta-sense plus other tunnels for mater funnels.
The Running of the Bulls. Data runnels.
Baby-rattle hubbub.












*Permutations: 20, 42, 72, 420, or 1056 different possible sense pairings, depending.


EGOCENTRIC SINN ENTERS in from the bottle to a toddle,
the same waddle as the world
that revolves around the

Colossal.      BabyBottle

There once was king named Rappel
who thought his opinions were swell;
with confidence unblinking,
and blessed with magical thinking:
disagree; he’d command you to hell.

Since senary satellites, seat soiling settled.

A PROJECTIVE SYNESTHETE, Blwch’s bleeding sensations surpass Shereshevsky, a reality of tasty touch and scented sound and hued hearing. Gestalt.

Plane Equation

Quartl, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons


Memory speaks the Tesla Coil and the swirly night stars of mauve; Des canyons aux étoiles, planar point and line. Vision fortress: tall weekends for orange scales of Vivaldi. D minor is blue: “a little bluer, if you please !



RAPPEL INDUCES FRACTIONS of the Ground, ego reduced, fractals abound.
Reverse guru factions resound. Action all around.
The soul expression factored,
round impression cubed.

Ingenious imagination involving issue interjected.

THE PAW OF THE TABBY claws under the threshold inducing the doorstop spring into the boing of longitudinal frenzy, a matitudinal secondary alarm. The stretched sound flashes zig-zag purple, bristly on the skin. The mystical purr like rabbit fur and honeybun fills the empty nest, where woven feather tufts rock in the plain breeze like a supplicant mantis — stoic.



Behavioral nest:
twigs for protection and rest;
the progeny niche
provides a base for the feast.
The feathers fan, then unleash.

DEAD SKIN SNOWS with every foot shuffle, pepper from a grinder; 90 pounds or 6.428 stone over the lifecycle. 19,710 L of bile; 32,850 L of licorice blood, 7,570 L routed through the four chambers every day. And, notwithstanding my continuously more scintillating tonsure, 5000 M of hair snake from the crown, although these do not chemically alter flesh to stone; interestingly though, the bony frame of permanence onto which the various tissue laminates are glued on for strength, stability, sound insulation, and appearance settle, simian arms, and sutures are smeared by limestone. Cost o f the body ? $1985.77 whole or $80,000 from a chop shop.

Organ Systems


Cells issue tissue
organized into organs
then systematized,
interstitially awash —
carboniferous machine
that carries the ghost
overlapped by time and space.
The whir of the gears
slows to an entropic click.
Escape eleven systems.

THE ACHES THAT ACCOMPANY the slow downhill slalom toward an arctic Bose-Einstein condensate strapping the mechanism statuesque—the weak flesh —belie spirited undiscovered-country folktales and all that intelligent design jazz. Mutiny of the connective tissue; dialogue of maladies, clay so cold; the knotty arthritic hinges align themselves in preparation for the terminal handshake.

A slide-whistle signal sounds near the wormhole.


IN THE MIDDLE OF THE METROPOLIS a commotion draws a crowd. A block away Marina notices and moves near. Before the scene unfolds past the curtains of people encircling, her mind flashes back to the sparkling blue water of Greece, at the foot of a rising village of alabaster and azure. Then monolithic, standing apart from an amazed throng of bystanders, an elephant seal, out of place. Marina snaps out of her daydream and feels drawn to the seal. She walks right up. Then, flailing his proboscis, the seal trumpets, “Urrumphasquarch! sclergleblorp.” Marina understands somehow. She steps up and hugs the seal who whispers something in her ear, and then the pinniped passes away in her arms. Just above the din of sidewalk babble, traffic horns and engine purr, Marina could have sworn she heard a choir of angels singing.


*[ WSB ].