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.
When she was 13 her class took a trip to an art museum. Most of the paintings faded in a blur but there was one that was burned into her mind.
The woman was naked (like most of the women were) but between her legs was a swan. The docent talked about the story of Leda and how the god Zeus had changed himself into a swan so he could sleep with her.
Ellen hates swans.
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?
Geoffrey rushes into the light, flapping and raging, and for a moment she can see the power and grace that made Leda fall.
That night, after the show, they walk in the park and Geoffrey kisses her. His fingers run light over her cheek and down her neck and she can't hide how she trembles, but then something shifts and she's leaning against his body, joining them from breast to hip with her head tucked beneath Geoffrey's chin.
The fit is perfect. They are perfect
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
One thing she has always prided herself on is that she never needed a go on the casting couch to win a part.
So how she ended up sleeping with Oliver is still a mystery.
He was gay for fuck's sake!
Maybe it was his personality, pulling everyone in like he was a king, or maybe because he was the first director who didn't try something or maybe she had gone to far into the role and Ophelia was turning her mad or...
Being so caught up,
She always loves to watch him, peaking from the wings to see the other side of the play, but tonight there is a mania in his eyes that threatens to overwhelm her.
Geoffrey spreads his arms wide and jumps, but he doesn't fly – he falls.
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?
Leda wasn't just any women, she was the Queen of Sparta. She had a husband who she loved.
But she still slept with a god.
Ellen hates swans.
Poem by William Butler Yeats