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Archive for February, 2018

Unicorn in Poetry

Indus Seals (2600-1900 Bce) Beyond Geometry: A New Approach to Break an Old Code
During my research at the Cornell University I  would often gaze for hours at the images of unicorn engraved on hundreds of ancient seals discovered from the archaeological sites of Indus Civilization (2600-1900 BCE). I have written a lot on this fascinating animal whose story is immersed in myths and magic. It has fascinated the poets and many have written poems on it, one of my favorites is 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.

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