Rainer Maria Rilke

(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926 / Prague / Czech Republic)

The Unicorn - Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke

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.


Comments about The Unicorn by Rainer Maria Rilke

  • (10/27/2006 3:16:00 AM)


    Rilke fully captures the beauty, untouchability and gentleness of the unicorn-as symbol of Christ as well as of romantic love later-mystical and magical. He embodies so much yearning. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: magic, rose, snow



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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