Sunday, November 9, 2008


Today, upon waking, I am thinking about Unicorns.  Those mystical horned horses from whimsical places.  As a child I would stand in the hills, on the edge of the wild wood where I lived, and I would wait for a white horse with a single horn to come galloping out of the trees. I would wait there for a long time, until I heard hooves on the soft earth, until I smelled the damp sweat of horsey hair and felt the warm grassy breath on the back of my neck. I believed my Unicorn would come, that she would carry me to the land on the otherside of the wood where she lived.  The land where all creatures lived, who struggled to exist, under the adult reign of disbelief.

This morning, while I sip my tea, I am reading Rilke's poem about a Unicorn.  And I remember my love of these beloved creatures.  And as I let this poet's words into my heart, I begin to wonder if this Unicorn that Rilke speaks of, lives not in the land on the otherside of the wood, but inside each of us. Is Rilke's Unicorn perhaps the mystery of soul that we cannot always see, but only know?  A kind of wonderful mystery to believe in? 

Don't you find the most beautiful and mysterious things are like that; born from the soil of our believing?

This is the creature there has never been. 
They never knew it, and yet, none the less
They loved the way it moved, its suppleness
Its neck, its very gaze, mild and serene.
Not there, because they loved it, it behaved
As though it were.  They always left some space.
And in that clear, unpeopled space they saved
It lightly reared its head, with scarce a trace
Of not being there.  They fed it, not with corn,
But only with the  possibility
Of being.  And that was able to confer
Such strength, its brow put forth a horn. One horn.
Whitely it stole up to the maid-to be
Within the silver mirror and in her.

~Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus


ArtSparker said...

Have you seen the film Legend? I think you might like it. Unicorns figure in the plot. When I read this poem, it it makes me want to find more time for reading, which is a good thing for the winter months.

Nao Sims said...

mm, yes, Legend, it is a long time ago favorite.

Walk in the Woods said...

"... born from the soil of our believing ..."