Poem

Don Paterson 2

June 24, 2013

DON PATERSON Scottish . B 1963

Ive spoken before about Don Paterson and included work from his wonderful collection LANDING LIGHTS.

His new book Orpheus, takes Rilkes sonnets, written in 1923, at the end of Rilkes life, and transposes them here.

The one Ive chosen is UNICORN, because in some ways, animals, the most earthy and connected of creatures, are also the most mysterious. Its not only unicorns who are magic.


UNICORN

This is the animal that never was.
Not knowing that, they loved it anyway;
its bearing, its stride, its high, clear whinny,
right down to the still light of its gaze.

It never was. And yet such was their love
the beast arose, where they had cleared the space;
and in the stable of its nothingness
it shook its white mane out and stamped its hoof.

And so they fed it, not with hay or corn
but with the chance that it might come to pass.
All this gave the creature such a power

its brow put out a horn; one single horn.
It grew inside a young girls looking glass,
then one day walked out and passed into her.