Monday, July 6, 2020

the exhibit

My uncle in East Germany
points to the unicorn in the painting
and explains it is now extinct.
We correct him, say such a creature
never existed. He does not argue,
but we know he does not believe us.
He is certain power and gentleness
must have gone hand in hand
once. A prisoner of war
even after the war was over,
my uncle needs to believe in something
that could not be captured except by love,
whose single luminous horn
redeemed the murderous forest
and, dipped into foul water,
would turn it pure. This world,
this terrible world we live in,
is not the only possible one,
his eighty-year-old eyes insist,
dry wells that fill so easily now.

 ~  Lisel Mueller
from Alive Together: New and Selected Poems

art: tapestry from the middle ages. Designed in Paris about 1500,
 are considered to be some of the greatest surviving masterpieces
 of medieval European art. They depict a lady flanked by a lion
 and a unicorn, surrounded by an enchanting world of animals, 
trees and flowers. One of the most intriguing aspects of these
 six large-scale artworks is the mystery of their origin and meaning.
with thanks to whiskey river