Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

Unicorn 13 - Poem by Michael Shepherd

who does not wish, openly or secretly,
to meet it, in some quiet place?
even a secret image in the mind's dead index
of those materialists who
deny it a reality, calling it a
‘mythological creature’ – as if
the mind were not superior to flesh and earth?

this, the very reason for
its longevity – who would not,
were it material, have hunted it by now
for a prince’s ransom, its magic horn ground down, hunted to
extinction – so that we would say
‘as dead as unicorn’ and left
the dodo forgotten and unmourned?
and so, to be a myth is logical…

and thus, the unicorn lives, beyond
some banal death at a hunter’s hands;
easy, peaceful in its own preserves,
grazing in the pure air of our minds,
free to remind us that we too are born free.

the secrets of creation
hide in such unthought hills as paradox –
we, yearning for a meeting
in a place we know not where
where in that still and silent place
loud with silent joy,
moving in ways beyond the movement seen,
we meet it when the looking stops

and paradox on paradox,
once met, we do not seek to meet and meet again –
its tender single glance
tells us for ever that it always lived
inside ourselves; we ourselves
that ‘mythological creature’,
more real than our mirrored self,
grazing in the wooded groves of stillness,
the mossy dells of silence; or,
its wild mane wind-tossed,
on the flying highest hills of freedom
or bright-eyed, salt-browed, white
between the spraying waves and curling surf:
knowing ourselves to be, forever to have been:


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Poem Edited: Tuesday, December 27, 2005

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