June 18, 2011

The Animal That Never Was

unfinished sculpture 'La Pensee'

This is the animal that never was.
They didn't know, and loved him anyway:
his bearing, his neck, the way he moved,
the light in his quiet eyes.

True, he didn't exist. But because they loved him
he became a real animal. They made a space for him.
And in that clear, uncluttered space, he lifted his head
and hardly needed to exist.

They fed him: not with grain, but ever
with the chance that he could be.
And that so strengthened him

that, from within, he grew a horn.
All white, he drew near to a virgin and found himself
in a silver mirror and in her.

Sonnets to Orpheus II, 4


  1. Oh my. I don't know what to think.

  2. Another one by Rilke:

    The Unicorn

    The saintly hermit, midway through his prayers
    stopped suddenly, and raised his eyes to witness
    the unbelievable: for there before him stood
    the legendary creature, startling white, that
    had approached, soundlessly, pleading with his eyes.

    The legs, so delicately shaped, balanced a
    body wrought of finest ivory. And as
    he moved, his coat shone like reflected moonlight.
    High on his forehead rose the magic horn, the sign
    of his uniqueness: a tower held upright
    by his alert, yet gentle, timid gait.

    The mouth of softest tints of rose and grey, when
    opened slightly, revealed his gleaming teeth,
    whiter than snow. The nostrils quivered faintly:
    he sought to quench his thirst, to rest and find repose.
    His eyes looked far beyond the saint's enclosure,
    reflecting vistas and events long vanished,
    and closed the circle of this ancient mystic legend.

  3. My, my! I have my own theories as to unicorns and gentlemen's heads in ladies' laps, too. Thanks for the poem!

  4. Both, gorgeous. I love La Pensee.

    I've been contemplating these and writing short poems to them. visitors welcome at http://parolavivace.blogspot.com.


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!