Philip Hart: The Swan and Leda

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.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: