Here is the actual poem:
The Black Unicorn
The black unicorn is greedy. <bad connotation
The black unicorn is impatient.
‘The black unicorn was mistaken
for a shadow or symbol
and taken <african americans arent considered
through a cold country real, just a shadow
where mist painted mockeries
of my fury.
It is not on her lap where the horn rests
but deep in her moonpit <so much anger building inside
The black unicorn is restless <african americans won’t stop until
the black unicorn is unrelenting they get justice, freedom
the black unicorn is not
This poem is clearly speaking to an African American who has been oppressed by man, which is what Lorde commonly writes about. It’s interesting because in the beginning she describes black unicorns with bad adjectives, however, unicorns do not exist and therefore African Americans are not “greedy” and “impatient”. Also, in the 6th and 7th lines of the poem, she is being mocked because she’s mad that African Americans are being treated unfairly. The fury, she describes, is not simply on the surface, but much deeper growing inside of her and developing into something much larger than herself. The fact that African Americans are still not free angers her beyond belief. According to Robin Jones of Colorado University, “What Lorde reveals are the systems and constructs that attempt to deny anger, that blame conditions of oppression on the oppressed, diverting attention from people’s pain and confusion, and avoiding responsibility or action“. This poem specifically addresses the issue of anger in an oppressed African American, which Jones explains, is a natural reaction to racist attitudes. Lorde writes this poem so people can see the expressed anger in words of an African American who is unnoticed but “unrelenting“.
Some things to also notice:
-When I turned the poem on its side, it had a pattern of a few long lines followed by a short line.
-I don’t believe there is a climax in this poem. However, the tone of the poem as a whole is very sharp and intense.