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The Lion and The Unicorn

tapestry series

Welcome!

The Lion and the Unicorn Tapestry website invites you to a feast of the fantastical by postmodern poet Emily Isaacson. Lean into the lush gardens of literature, the castles of the mind, medieval wanings of the internet realms, or domains and portals to the hearts of men.

In all her poetic words, kind deeds, and vivid tapestries of multimedia art, Emily Isaacson portrays a celestial realm to which we travel on the Clay Road. The Clay Road has been our imminent theme until now, but we return to our roots and to the beginnings of Emily Isaacson's work with the lustrous Lion and Unicorn and their titular influence.

Also join with the mystical rambles of Emily Isaacson as she writes her medieval blog highlighting the makings of a poet and her career as a writer. She is a mythic soul, a solitary unicorn.

Weep, dance, cry here in the throes of an ancient universe as it draws near with riveting crash of cymbals. Be a stone groaning in the dark, see from nearer perspective whether she missed her mark. She is a hunter of visions and supernal influences.

Some people can just see in the dark, and they travel at the speed of light with luminous splendour. It is a miracle that makes a poem; it is an epiphany moment.

Traditionally the lion represents England, and the unicorn, Scotland. Also, the unicorn is opposite the lion in the Canadian coat of arms. These two have similar natures, but one is proud and bold and one is reticent and reclusive. When you get near to lions they roar; when you get too close to unicorns they hide. Unicorns are generators of the spirit world; they generate ideas and sell dreams.

Is poetry a language that makes Canada a sublime country?

The poets will ask, they will respond in verse, if I know them well . . .

[Photo: Castle reflected in the water]

 


 

Beside the Golden Door

The Apothecary's Daughter


At the apothecary shop

is the crossroads of medieval medicine,

where change is of the essence,

and time stands alone.

 

She is young, she is strong with laughter,

and her will is steady;

her hazel eyes speak of healing

her lips are a rose, speaking in the wind,

her hands are as skillful as the land,

the tonic bends beneath her hands,

vials and ointments

are scepters extended to the poor and ill:

she is the apothecary’s daughter.

 

Carnelian—

her face is flax damask,

as she travels with a cowl over her head

through the cloister’s silence dead,

she carries the crude anthracite

to her father’s benefactor’s rite.


The children play in burgundy knickers

around the fountain,

but she is as silent as dawn

and threading doves,

as the far-away gallop of hooves

on a crusade.

 

“I can turn a thistle to a daffodil in a day,”

said the passing alchemist 

with a wry smile,

“and the rain becomes

crystals beneath my hand.

My skull is made of wood, not clay.”

 

“What creates the connection

between the roses

are the thorns,”

said the apothecary’s daughter.

“For you are an illusionist,

and I am Carnelian,

the thorn of perdition.”

 

“Hold it to your lantern glass,

for you are a rose—

(I do not want the roses to be without

stems or leaves or thorns . . . )”

said the alchemist.

“Through the glass is a light,

and beneath my heart

there is a country—

you have found the Door!”

 

“Alas,” she paused,

“if there is a country within you,

there is an empire

within me—”

 

“What empire? Apothecary’s daughter,”

he asked with a jeer,

“What empire protects you?”

 

“Why it is the empire of the royal rose,”

she stood her ground.

He looked through his spectacle at her closely:

“The royal rose that entwines the golden arbour—

is that the empire of which you speak?”

 

“It is an aged rose

from which steeps

the sweet perfume of roses’ oil,

as I would know,”

she answered.

“Then be assured

that I not only

know the secret of the rose,

but the place from which it sprang—

that would make a maiden weep.”

 

“I weep as surely

as I live, if I do not know

the medicine of the gorse, the heather,

and of the rose:

it springs from

the rose hip, 

and is a woman’s remedy.

Now, I must be off,

for my smokeless coal

is growing dim

before my eyes—” she said.

Aha! thought the alchemist—

the lady did not know that

we would meet,

for until now I could only dream

of her medicine

to make a woman sweet.

 

The arched passage rang

with his voice,

for he scarce cared to lower it.

“Your father knows both

his friends and benefactors,”

he said, “but does he know his enemies?”

 

“Pray tell, who is his enemy?”

she asked. “There is a robin perched

on his chestnut bud.”

“Why his enemy is anyone who,

with skill, is cunning

and works to undermine him,” he said.

“What is within the human heart, will

eventually flower after its own kind,

for it cannot stay hidden very long.

 

“If, a dance,” he said, taking her hand,

“it must be worked out

as a sequence of steps,

while dripping with sweat.”

 

“The life without it, though,

is passionless,” she said.

 

“Toil in the valleys

of the human heart

for happiness is hard to find,

and when we find it

we let go all too soon.

 

“We breathe and spin

and leap—our faith in our mouths,

our life lived with one last

mournful cry,” he said.

 

They had met at last—

a chance meeting:

“And what is your name?” she asked.

“Waterford,” he answered.

 

“Waterford, the son of crusaders?” she asked.

“Yes, and keeper of the Waterford Journal—

for I can write,” he said.

“You may not remember me,

but I was in your benefactor’s school

as a child. Do you remember I sent you a note?”

 

“Aye,” said Carnelian, “but I could not read it.”

“I will tell you what it said,” he answered.

 

“Do not despise thou love, nor rue its share,

the shelter it provides is providence,

the elegance of home is free from cares,

and thine bent head in prayer is evidence.

I have many flowers in my garden,

each smells so sweetly of the summer’s air,

envelopes of color, secret wardens,

for all the trust that heav’n keeps guarded there.

If ever I should give my heart to one,

I would find her ’neath an arbour waiting;

my intimations second to her none,

there’d be one song in my mouth abating:

I would give thee my youth’s flattery now

that I may not prove false upon thy vow.”

 

“I remember now,” said Carnelian.

“Then you were last to read it,” he said.

 

“Last was I to read your cream folded note,

when I was still quite young, I would not laugh

at your sincerity, and my wood staff.

My reputation was my ivory throat.

I would take you at your word, upon sea

I float: saline is my buffer, salt pure

that reaches deep into my wounds, censured

as crystalline mine salt, deep in the green,

we move, we float, licensed liquidity.

And now the years have almost passed me by,

I remember you, the boy that once kythed

in books and music, gardens’ flow’r to me.

Do not let me forget the passing age,

that once held me, a player, on the stage.”


            --Emily Isaacson, Hallmark