The Threatened Swan
Neither Zeus nor Leda figure here:
no pregnant pause before the action,
no rape, no god, no naked woman.
Any political interpretations
are only later stencilled in:
an urge to spell out meaning
and no chivalry toward history.
This is no more, no less than a mute swan
delivering her young from an unseen villain.
You can’t read enough love or hate
into her hoarse scream and depthless eye.
Her heavy wings like two swords beat
against feathered breastplate,
beneath twilight sky and smoky cloud;
webbed black feet set wide apart
on the muddy edge. The stream
not stopping for a moment for anything
so common as a mother’s instinct.
No gods or humans mar the scene.
Daniel Goodwin is an award-winning poet and novelist. Art often figures as a theme in his work. His new novel The Great Goldbergs is forthcoming.
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