Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FABLE, by GEORGE O'NEIL



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FABLE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I led him on into the frosted wood
Last Line: "I'm numb, I'm going home,"" he said."
Subject(s): Fables; Unicorns; Winter; Allegories


I LED him on into the frosted wood;
Stamping our feet, beneath a larch we stood,
Breathing white edifices on the air;
And nothing else was moving there.

The branches hung as if they had not known
A day when any little wind had blown.
The snow above our heads wrought wondrously
A thousand gargoyles on a tree.

Freezing, we waited by the frozen brook. ...
"Listen," I said, and hardly dared to look.
A drift slid suddenly across the ice,
A frigid hawthorne trembled twice.

Then, slowly, through the branches, marble-veined,
A hoof, a haunch, a heavy shoulder, strained;
A head swung down into a glassy heap
And smashed it with a sideward sweep.

I could not hold my tongue: "You see the horn!
That twisted golden bone ... the Unicorn!"
I could not hold it back. And as I spoke
A splintered universe awoke.

The thing was gone. "You saw?" I spun around
To read his eyes. He kicked a knotted mound,
And all the gargoyles tumbled on his head.
"I'm numb, I'm going home," he said.





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