Perception vs realism

by Emma

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?

William Butler Yeats

This poem is powerful. It is classified as one of the greatest written, yet to conceptualise this is to gain deeper clarity in what the writer was trying to convey.

Realism argues that Leda could not physically make love to a swan. Logic confirms this sweetly. Perception sways in the flow of the words, but argues the ethical stance. The mind simply states this is absurd.


Within the brush strokes of the artist, under the influence of the ink, what meaning was the creators hoping for?. My own mind contrives that the meaning is exquisite and underlying.

A female form is considered beautiful. A pure symbol of femininity. Beauty to embrace and behold.

A swan is an idealised bird. A portrayal of exquisite perfection. The bright softness of its wings, mixed finely, handsomely, with the beauty of its curved form.

Together, these forms create perfection. An ideation of a sweetened epitheny.

The bonding of the female with the swan reproduces and multiplies surreality. It transcends the perception of two beautiful creatures capturing the pure essence of their visual charter.

It also shows strength and integrity. Leda held the belief that the swan was a god. She sacrificed her logic for her motivated dream. The procreation of this bonding suggests love and compassion at its most raw and purest form.

Although to add spice to the mix, the question of will remains.

Femininity was historically portrayed as an expected facet of our being, and women were visual creatures. We were not appreciated for our inner beauty, mental clarity, and clever reasoning. We simply were expected to believe and do.

The idea of Leda conveys this. Yet I do not feel protective of this ideation. I believe it is, and remains perceptive.

I see two beautiful creatures procreating a more beautiful existence. I feel the artist’s were clever in their creation. I feel it is a visual reflection of sexual and feminine development. The swan is simply a metaphoric image to maximise this transition.

As a woman grows, her own inner beauty flourishes and her wings open to fly freely. She becomes the swan. She owns her regal beauty, and her femininity intensifies.

The mind of a deep thinker…or complete rubbish…it is all down to interpretation and perception…