Calderwood Press, 2007 - £4.00 www.calderwoodpress.co.uk
I immediately liked the idea of a collection about this mythical creature and was intrigued by the cover blurb which promised poems showing how unicorns exist in our “everyday lives”. The intention is good. Mercedes Clarasó states that she associates only positive concepts with the unicorn, and she clearly wants to share this goodness with her readers.
The writing is strongest when Clarasó is attempting to persuade us of the need to believe in unicorns. Her unicorns address the readers directly:
Listen you, unbeliever
you think you know what's what
and warn us of what befalls the unicorn when we fail to believe:
It's then we fade and flicker
and fall down in a heap
of autumn leaves
which the wind scatters
into far nothingness.
Sadly, however, I found the images of the unicorns themselves too light, and attempts to introduce them into an urban reality fell rather flat. I liked the idea of glimpsing a unicorn whilst standing in a checkout queue, but found the characters clichéd and unconvincing:
The harried housewife with her load,
the young lout clutching his six-pack,
the old man stand queuing, unaware that they,
like me, are entertaining angels too
For me, these poems failed to make unicorns “step out of the page” in the way the blurb on the chapbook jacket promised. The main problem was that the writing not only failed to convince me of the existence of unicorns, but also failed to depict a realistic backdrop in which I could believe. The rather cajoling tone of some of the poems warned me of what would happen if I didn't believe in unicorns. In the end, however, it was the words I couldn’t believe in.
The Common Reader comments:
The writer clearly loves unicorns. They become a symbol of just about everything. Normally I don’t think of unicorns very much but A Blessing of Unicorns had such a unique title that I had to read on to see why unicorns are a “blessing”.
I bumped into unicorns in every poem. They were all over the place. I couldn’t move for unicorns. Considering the title, I don’t know why this surprised me. People with imagination will love this pamphlet. My favourite poem was ‘Walking with Unicorns’ which has a very satisfying ending:
I feel its gentle warmth
encircle me. It leads
me to new fields, it leads