Friday, February 17, 2012

I Wish I'd Written This

The Truth About Unicorns
by Doris Brett

In the town they talked about unicorns,
and what young girls should know
of them (white as bone and hard with their beauty).
How they’d come down (cloud but not cloud), streaming,
milk from the mountains,
undammed, maddening
horses, the image of silver, quick-shimmered
slickering snorters where we’d lie (night living
and behind our eyes), unskinned by sleep
into nights when each of us dreamed of riding on unicorn,
forward for the hollow, that one particular spot where you fit,
sit over muscles bunching like bananas, big
and splitting the seams of your senses . . .

Doris Brett is a psychologist, bread maker and prose author as well as a poet. Her publisher, Random House, says:

Doris Brett resides in Melbourne with her husband and daughter. She is a clinical psychologist as well as a multi-award winning author and poet. She has been published in America, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Russia. She has been awarded numerous literary awards for her poetry, including the Queensland Premier's Poetry Award (1994). IN THE CONSTELLATION OF THE CRAB, a collection of poems that arose out of her experience with ovarian cancer was short-listed for the National Book Council Poetry Prize.

I became acquainted with Doris in the early days of the Poets Union of Australia. We used to encounter each other at the same poetry festivals and performances. I invited her to address one of my writers’ classes on the subject of dreams and their relation to poetry — a subject in which, as a psychologist, she had a special interest and expertise — and she held us spellbound.

She also developed ‘Annie Stories’ to help children overcome fears and problems.

Her powerful memoir of her experience with ovarian cancer, Eating the Underworld, is reviewed in detail here, where it is also available for purchase. You can find more of her books at Amazon, and at Random House.  

The Truth About Unicorns is one of her earliest published poems and still one of the best loved.

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).


  1. Rosemary;
    Fantastic! I am so grateful that I now know of Doris Brett.

    Thank you,

  2. Yes, it would have be thrilling to have written this. It is funny how one poem can sink the hook, create a connection, leave me wanting more words. I did not know of Doris Brett, now I do.

    thank you.

  3. Rosemary, as always, you present us with a fascinating poet. I am intrigued by the sound of her memoir and will check it out. Thanks for your work in featuring these wonderful poets week after week.


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