Leda

By H. D. 1886–1961 H. D.
Where the slow river   
meets the tide,
a red swan lifts red wings
and darker beak,
and underneath the purple down
of his soft breast
uncurls his coral feet.

Through the deep purple
of the dying heat
of sun and mist,
the level ray of sun-beam
has caressed
the lily with dark breast,
and flecked with richer gold
its golden crest.

Where the slow lifting   
of the tide,   
floats into the river   
and slowly drifts   
among the reeds,   
and lifts the yellow flags,   
he floats   
where tide and river meet.   

Ah kingly kiss—
no more regret   
nor old deep memories   
to mar the bliss;   
where the low sedge is thick,   
the gold day-lily   
outspreads and rests   
beneath soft fluttering   
of red swan wings
and the warm quivering
of the red swan's breast.

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Poet H. D. 1886–1961

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Imagist

Subjects Nature, Heroes & Patriotism, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Imagist

 H.  D.

Biography

H.D.’s life and work recapitulate the central themes of literary modernism: the emergence from Victorian norms and certainties, the entry into an age characterized by rapid technological change and the violence of two great wars, and the development of literary modes which reflected the disintegration of traditional symbolic systems and the mythmaking quest for new meanings. H.D.’s oeuvre spans five decades of the twentieth . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Heroes & Patriotism, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Imagist

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Imagist

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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