Hunting The Unicorn

Legend has it that the young virgin is the only one who can tame the unicorn. "The gentle and pensive maiden has the power to tame the unicorn, selfless yet solitary, but always mysteriously beautiful..." In The Fleur-de-lis the unicorn is a reocurring theme, and the lion and the unicorn represented in the Canadian coat of arms speaks of two nations: the Lion traditionally represents England and the Unicorn, Scotland. So the country of Canada seems to be equated with Scotland in this manner. The two nations bow to each other in mythic love and dedication.

Ruth Pitter's biography by Don King is titled, Hunting the Unicorn, and her poetic accomplishment as a fellow of C.S. Lewis at Oxford makes her almost legendary, yet she is never mentioned by Lewis in a public way. She was so gifted she transcribed his own work into poetry including parts of Perelandra. She won the Queen's award for poetry, she never married, she wrote seveteen volumes of war-time poetry, and excelled in her craft.

When I started the section "Ode To Enchantment", it was with the English Ruth Pitter's Battersea Bridge in mind. She crossed the bridge quite frequently and wrote about it in her journal. Although I wrote by entire book of poetry without having read any of hers, I don't regret this choice, for now I read her comprehensive work with great satisfaction.

Is the poet a mythological type that can only be described as a unicorn? These furtive, shy creatures are seldom seen in the open. They hide in the shadows. They have much symbolism and antiquity to impart. When we search for poetry, are we Hunting the Unicorn? And will we ever find one to tame.


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