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The Unicorn and the Birth of Consumerism

by Mickey 

Posted: 17 August 2017
Word Count: 227
Summary: I was reminded of this after having read Ronís poem. I donít think Iíve posted it before


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The Unicorn was Mankind’s soul,
and symbolised virginal purity
and the innocence of youth.
Roaming the globe from pole to pole,
before the paths of Paradise
led Eve to seek the truth.
Desiring the horn of beauty that she saw,
she tasted what, till now, had been denied.
Then, the mythic Unicorn became no more
than the earthy, Earthly partner at her side.
Perversely, now she sought out leaves
to keep the once-lusted-after horn at bay
and, being a woman, naturally believed
one leaf more desirable
(in an indefinable sort of way).
Thus, through the Unicorn’s demise began
the rise of the modern ‘Marketing Man’


Version 2

Eve and the Unicorn

The Unicorn was Mankind’s soul,
and symbolised virginal purity
and the innocence of youth.
Roaming the globe from pole to pole,
before the paths of Paradise
led Eve to seek the truth.
Desiring the horn of beauty that she saw,
she tasted what, till now, had been denied.
Then, the mythic Unicorn became no more
than the earthy, Earthly partner at her side.
Perversely, now she sought out leaves
to keep the once-lusted-after horn at bay
for reality, emerging from imaginings,
no longer found perfection in its way.
Instead, unspoken passions given voice,
by that first taste of worldly pleasure
gave birth to an Eternity of choice,
which Eve and her Unicorn
could manifest together.
 






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Comments by other Members



James Graham at 21:24 on 19 August 2017  Report this post
Hi Mike – You say Ron’s poem ‘The Creation of Eve’ brought this poem of your own to mind. Well, in a way it supplements Ron’s poem. Your first few lines refer to ‘virginal purity’ and presumably to the part of the unicorn mythology that says unicorns can be captured using a virgin as ‘bait’. The unicorn desires Eve (and vice versa) – but all this goes on in an unreal world, that ‘spectral existence’ in Ron’s phrase, before Eve takes a bite out of that famous apple.

It’s a different angle on the same story, but the point is the same. Reading the two poems together, I got a clearer idea of the point of both. In the Genesis story (which I said I had consigned to the paper recycling bin, due partly, I think, to having been brainwashed with it at Sunday school) Eve commits a terrible sin; she is punished, and all her descendants are cursed. Women are to blame for the ills of the world. They must be kept indoors, or if they go out must wear sacks; as for allowing them to vote… But – on the contrary – in the new version, in Ron’s poem and yours, women are liberators. When Eve is led to ‘seek the truth’, the fantasy unicorn dissolves into thin air and behold, there is a male human, a man, warts and all; and she is equally human, and they are partners. She has delivered them from that meaningless perfection that God had consigned them to. Woman is now a heroine, not to be despised but admired and respected. I think it was your lines
Then, the mythic Unicorn became no more
than the earthy, Earthly partner at her side

that made the strongest impression on me, and set off all this train of thought.

So far so good. I get a bit lost towards the end of the poem, though. If you explain, I’ll probably see the light. Of course Eve ‘sought out leaves’ – fig leaves, we’re told – not to hide her supposed ‘shame’ but to keep at bay the ‘horn’, formerly the phallic symbol sported by the unicorn, now the real thing. Then, you tell us, she began to fancy some leaves more than others, and so gave birth to ‘fashion’ and consumerism. Leaves were the first clothes, and eventually led to skirts, trousers and leggings in all varieties – and ‘Marketing Men’ to con women into buying this, that or the other. I think maybe I’ve got half way to what you mean, but put me right if I’ve got it wrong.

Maybe after all what I’m not sure about is just the fact that you bring in ‘Consumerism’ at the end. It seems like a diversion, an anti-climax even, after all that good material about the unicorn and how the myth dissolves after Eve discovers her humanity. I can’t help feeling the poem should end a few lines sooner than it does – or else, after ‘the rise of the modern Marketing Man’ a couple of extra lines saying, well, it’s all part of being human. Fashion, make up, hair styles etc etc all came after the ‘Fall’ – and we’re glad of it. All part of being human. Maybe something like that would tie it in better with the rest of the poem.

It’s a long comment, Mike. You gave my lethargic brain a bit of a workout!

James.

Mickey at 22:07 on 19 August 2017  Report this post
Hi James

Thank you for your very thoughtful and detailed analysis.  You are absolutely right in your interpretation.  I wrote this several years ago and I remember being pleased with the sexual sub text of the Eve story I was trying to tell.  As I am always saying, I tend to knock out poems quickly when the Muse takes me and, more often than not, I am surprised myself at where it leads me and the piece I am writing.  I think also, that in the past I may have been slightly more embarrassed at my own ‘naughty’ train of thought, so may have watered down the eroticism by ending this poem (and others) as a kind of humorous anti-climax (if you’ll pardon the expression!)

Mike    

Cliff Hanger at 09:48 on 20 August 2017  Report this post
Isn't the first known globally traded consumer item the flint axe head? I don't think there's any evidence to show it's manufacture, trade or use was gender specific.devil

I find it interesting that men are still trying to describe female power in terms of these myths. 

Jane

ronaldanne at 10:50 on 20 August 2017  Report this post
Hello Mike,

Sorry I haven't commented sooner. I have been busy preparing a presentation about Gwendolyn Brooks for my book group.

I have read through your poem a few times and I agree with James about the first 2/3's. I Googled the unicorn myth and discovered it is found in many cultures including China and India. I think you have something to work with because of it's ubiquity. The idea of Eve having the power to attract then transform the unicorn into her "...Earthly partner..." is well done.

I agree with Jane about the ending of the poem. It misses the mark in terms of humor. I think it may be more productive to pursue a different angle. Perhaps something like Eve trading her power over the unicorn with kings and queens in other lands while making her partner the "...Marketing Man". If Eve is in charge it carries on with the idea in the first part of the poem that Eve holds the power while allowing her partner to become a business partner. Please let me know if this doesn't get my idea across and I will try to work on a more clear explication.

I hope this is helpful because I think your idea about combining the myths and giving Eve the power is a good one.

~Ron

ronaldanne at 10:58 on 20 August 2017  Report this post
I have just thought of something more about giving Eve control of the "business" of transforming unicorns. In doing so you are giving her the power to go about creating "sex partners" who in turn go on to populate the Earth. Therefore Eve keeps her part of the myth as a kind of "Mother" for the race of humans. Her partner then has the job of marketing the clothes to cover up the naughty bits.

~Ron

V`yonne at 13:53 on 20 August 2017  Report this post

and, being a woman, naturally believed
one leaf more desirable
(in an indefinable sort of way)

Jane and I both! I don't really think Eve is to blame/responsible for consumerism. I rather liked the thought that they were in it together. But I suppose in a way that whole myth is written in such a way as to rationalise male dominance and reflect the society it came from -- so it's not you.

I really loved

Then, the mythic Unicorn became no more
than the earthy, Earthly partner at her side.


because on a more serious note, consumerism is just that -- goods do not bring satisfaction, getting what you want is boring as soon as you get it and then you are persuaded to seek out something else and something newer and better leaves and more leaves.

It's a good poem. I like it very much. It says just as much about the world we live in as about the mythic past -- as all good myths should.

Mickey at 18:05 on 20 August 2017  Report this post
Hi All

Thank you for reading and commenting on this very old piece.  As I described in my response to James, I remember beginning this poem on a serious note with absolutely no thought of the consumerism angle, but I found as it developed that I was drawn to the admittedly rather limp humorous conclusion (well, it was intended to be funny!).  I realised even as I posted it that I was inviting politically correct feminist/inclusiveness angst which hadn’t really taken such a hold on the common psyche when the piece was written as it has today, so I apologise to anyone who is irritated by that aspect of the poem.

I am surprised by everyone’s vehement dismissal of the Genesis story as simply an absurd myth.  If you check out my initial response to Ron’s ‘Eve’ poem, you will see that, whilst not accepting the story as being in any way believable, I nevertheless accept it at face value in order to comment on it.  You all seem to be so repelled by its misogyny, that your subsequent analysis of both Ron and my poems has been distorted by your pre-formed prejudice to the subject matter.

In my comment to Ron, I pointed out the lack of internal logic in the claim that, before Eve’s disobedience to the Old Testament Creator God, there was no death.  It would follow if that were the case, that there was no birth or growth either and that the Garden would have to have existed outside of time in a constant state of timeless ‘being’.

As a consequence of that reasoning, there would also have been no sexual activity between Adam and Eve and the entire story is ripe with suggestions that the couple’s original sin that brought death into the world was the discovery of each other sexually.  This was what I was intending to convey when I started the poem.

What struck me however when I reached the ‘earthy, Earthly partner at her side’ was the fact that, having ‘tasted’ the horn - whatever that might have been (portrayed as some kind of fruit although an apple is not expressly named), both she and her partner suddenly felt a need to distance themselves from one another and cover up.

Contrary to the flippant ‘little woman’ image that I may have implied in the closing lines of the poem my point is that, left to simpering obedient Adam, Mankind would never have emerged and he would have remained just … well, ‘man’.  It took the feisty feminine aspect of the human condition to actually kick start Creation to allow humanity to emerge from the shackles of ‘perfection’, and enable Mankind to lead meaningful, full lives with free will  and choice. 

Sadly, as Oonah has pointed out, the Genesis story was written to place the blame for Man’s ‘Fall’ on Eve in order to rationalise male dominance in the ancient world, which has in turn marginalised women ever since.

The odd thing about this site is that it explains my own work to me and demonstrates a quality that I never consciously knew it had!  Perhaps I should re-visit this particular piece and re-work it to maintain the serious aspect of the message throughout.

Thank you all again for your observations

Mike 

Cliff Hanger at 18:35 on 20 August 2017  Report this post
Hi Mike

Not remotely offended but if you mean by politically correct feminist angst that women are prepared to stick up for themselves then that's true and you'll just have to live with it.wink

Jane

James Graham at 21:22 on 20 August 2017  Report this post
Perhaps I should re-visit this particular piece and re-work it to maintain the serious aspect of the message throughout.
Well worth it, Mike. This is a better poem than you thought it was. I'm sure you know WW membership doesn't place a rigorous obligation on you to revise everything, or else you'll be expelled - but this one is already a bit special and could be even more so.

James.

V`yonne at 23:12 on 20 August 2017  Report this post
I like myths. One of my favourite episodes of Star Trek is where Worf finds a society of Klingons who have lost their mythology and when he's asked by a youngster whether the Kayliss story is ture he answers:

These are our stories. They tell us who we are and I find new truths in them all the time.

That is why myths are important. That's why poetry is important too and why they are so worth exploration.

ronaldanne at 23:25 on 20 August 2017  Report this post
I'm just going to say two things:

Mike, this poem is definitely worth working on to whatever end you bring it.
I love what happens when a poem is posted on WW!

~Ron

Mickey at 12:31 on 21 August 2017  Report this post
Hi All
I've just posted a revised version which I've re-titled 'Eve and the Unicorn'  I hope you find this to be an improvement?

V`yonne at 12:59 on 21 August 2017  Report this post
I like Version 2. I think it's an improvement worthy of the poem and it takes consumerism out without actuall taking it out because you leave the possibilty intact in

Eternity of choice,

which you give to both.

once-lusted-after

seems a bit -- lumpy
once craved?

My, you worked quickly on that good revision yes

Cliff Hanger at 13:31 on 21 August 2017  Report this post
Hi Mike,

It's much more subtle but much stronger for it.

Jane
 

ronaldanne at 15:04 on 21 August 2017  Report this post
Wow Mike! You have written a quite good revision. You certainly didn't waste any time either.

These last lines are brilliant
Instead, unspoken passions given voice,
by that first taste of worldly pleasure
gave birth to an Eternity of choice,
which Eve and her Unicorn
could manifest together.
~Ron


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