In connection with the controversy over heroism mentioned below, my friend Philip Hart sends a marvellous sonnet he wrote, and which I publish with his permission.
The Swan and Leda
The god swoops down upon her from behind.
It was that or waddle to the attack.
The bright wings batter her down on her back.
He does what she’s not done with her own kind:
Swans have, unlike most birds, external genitals.
He spreads, with webbed reptilian feet, her thighs,
Upon her senseless lips his senseless beak,
His neck snaked round her neck. His eyes
Are elsewhere – they foresee perhaps the roles
The girls who soon will hatch will play:
Adultery justifying murder and war crimes
By barbarians considered heroes to this day –
Having more imagination than those of our times,
And an above-average publicist in their pay.