Does anyone have a short analysis for Hilda Doolittle's (H.D.) poem "Leda"?

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The title of the poem is an allusion to the classical Greek myth in which Zeus, taking the form of a swan, seduces a married woman named Leda.

H.D.’s use of imagery and diction create a sensual mood in her description of this myth.

The swan is described as exotic,...

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The title of the poem is an allusion to the classical Greek myth in which Zeus, taking the form of a swan, seduces a married woman named Leda.

H.D.’s use of imagery and diction create a sensual mood in her description of this myth.

The swan is described as exotic, with “red wings,” a “darker beak,” a “purple” underside, and “coral feet.” The shades of red all indicate an association with lust, while the purple is associated with royalty. Since Zeus is a god in Greek mythology, this association connects the poem with its inspiration. In addition, this imagery suggests that the swan is beautiful and attractive to Leda.

In the “dying heat of sun and mist,” the “white lily” connects with the red swan. The white lily is a metaphor for Leda herself. Flowers often serve as metaphors for a woman’s sexuality, and in this poem, this is the case. In the last stanza, the lily (Leda) “outspreads and rests / beneath soft fluttering” of the swan. The diction in this stanza creates a sensual, relaxed mood to describe the actual seduction of Leda.

Therefore, in this version of the classical myth, the swan’s alluring sexuality is what attracts Leda to it.

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