It never was. It never ran through tall grass.
It never tasted ice water on its tongue.
It never felt the salt wind nipping the nape of its neck.
It never felt the whiteness of its body.
It never was. It could never be.
Then, one day, you longed for its existence.
Slowly it emerged, intangibly it came.
It moved in the shadows, hovered in the soul’s undergrowth.
Its nostrils quivered, its clean eyes opened –
As if waiting for you to call its name.
And suddenly you said the secret word: unicorn!
A single horn broke from its stark brow,
Startlingly white. Precise. Spiralling to a point.
Ah! It existed then – in the silent mirror of your longing.
And that which never was, became.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
This book is a substantial biography of the spirit...Abbs’ art is buttressed by craft. He is a gifted sonneteer, adept in both the strictures and variations of the form...This self-interrogating, deeply serious poet.
-Adrian Buckner in The London Magazine
Startling in its portrayal of love, Love after Sappho’s greatest accomplishment is the artistry of its construction...The resolution of love is impossible, but to capture it for a moment in all its protean and unwieldy form is all that we can ask. Peter Abbs in Love after Sappho achieves this and deserves his accolades.
-Raul Peschiera in Resurgence
Abbs deeply lives his poems, taking brave risks with his own raw experiences and his best work has been pressed out of him by necessity.
-Patricia McCarthy in Agenda