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Poem by Countee Cullen
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That bright chimeric beast Conceived yet never born, Save in the poet’s breast, The white-flanked unicorn, Never may be shaken From his solitude; Never may be taken In any earthly wood. That bird forever feathered, Of its new self the sire, After aeons weathered, Reincarnate by fire, Falcon may not nor eagle Swerve from his eyrie, Nor any crumb inveigle Down to an earthly tree. That fish of the dread regime Invented to become The fable and the dream Of the Lord’s aquarium, Leviathan, the jointed Harpoon was never wrought By which the Lord’s anointed Will suffer to be caught. Bird of the deathless breast, Fish of the frantic fin, That bright chimeric beast Flashing the argent skin,-- If beasts like these you’d harry, Plumb then the poet’s dream; Make it your aviary, Make it your wood and stream. There only shall the swish Be heard of the regal fish; There like a golden knife Dart the feet of the unicorn, And there, death brought to life, The dead bird be reborn.
Countee Cullen's other poems:
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