“Unicorns and cannonballs, palaces and piers…”

Yes, there’s a winged unicorn at the National Cathedral, but she hides in a shady nook along the south nave, and the horn that rests flat against her back can’t be seen from the ground. Below her, over the wall in a corner of the garden, sits a birdbath, a 12th-century capital salvaged from the ruins of Cluny. One never can tell what a unicorn will find intriguing.


A whisper in the medlar, Father Hugh:
“I found a cloister crook’d in splintry beams
And stood it straight in marble. Fresh regimes
Reigned higher still; our rule they overthrew.
As songbirds shrink from thunder, we withdrew,
And now the sun we kindled scarcely gleams
Above the murk of misremembered dreams.
This capital will never rise anew.”
To which I field a future all my own:
A thousand summers wither in a blink.
A sparrow spots my hooves and broken horn
Through churchyard brambles, grear and overgrown,
And droplets on my wing she stoops to drink;
Then she will be refreshed, and I reborn.

(For all the entries in this series, hit the “looking up” tag.)

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