Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

Unicorn 4 - Poem by Michael Shepherd

What is known, is known – known gently,
meekly, mildly, sweetly; that’s the experience
that men bring back who’ve seen that creature plain.
But since the unicorn grazes in all our minds and hearts,
each has his image. Poets love to write of that creature
as they picture it; but what of those who met it plain
in forest glade, upon the hills, or white amidst the waves?

It’s said that, then, some poets put away their pens forever or awhile,
despairing that their word-hoard holds no words
that can describe those things invisible which
that creature brings to the mind, when met;
some can no longer give it even a name
as if that very word can seem to falsify.

They’re asked, was it, just, beautiful? – and hesitate,
because what yesterday, was ‘beautiful’ is a different word
today; that creature shows them that a word
means what it does; today, ‘beauty’ has done more in them;
it speaks a unity which is not static – can do all things
as Helen’s beauty, so we’re told, could make a war from peace;
so beauty can make peace from war – as poets prove.

And so, those who’ve seen it plain but wish
to say no word that might be less than truth
find that its subtle magic guides their pen
so that they may write with that same ease
with which that creature lives,
write of any, and of all things.

And all who’ve seen it – who’ve seen it move
within the utter stillness of itself
as never before have they seen a creature move
and hold that in themselves, wish, wordless, to return
to be again in that creature’s still shared self-presence;
the wisest of them finally to find
that it may graze forever in the poet’s mind.

Comments about Unicorn 4 by Michael Shepherd

  • (2/25/2007 12:25:00 PM)

    Again, I like how you have extended 'what is known, is known' but have added to it. A valuable aspect of the series. A good capture of intense awe, and admiration in this write. (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (8/4/2005 6:29:00 AM)

    The wording you used is very pretty. The structure seemed a bit off. (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (7/28/2005 6:37:00 PM)

    This poem mesmerizes me..Simply superb. (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (7/28/2005 5:59:00 PM)

    No words to describe the beauty of this poem, either. Your wealth of words is matched only by your wonderful, poetic ideas. Glad to have met up with a poet such as you!


    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 4 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Thursday, July 28, 2005

Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  7. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. Television
    Roald Dahl
  10. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
[Report Error]