The Phoenix

Source: The Phoenix

by Arthur Christopher Benson

By feathers green, across Casbeen
The pilgrims track the Phoenix flown,
By gems he strew’d in waste and wood,
And jewell’d plumes at random thrown:

Till wandering far, by moon and star,
They stand beside the fruitful pyre,
Where breaking bright with sanguine light
The impulsive bird forgets his sire.

Those ashes shine like ruby wine,
Like bag of Tyrian murex split,
The claw, the jowl of the flying fowl
Are with the glorious anguish gilt.

So rare the light, so rich the sight,
Those pilgrim men, on profit bent,
Drop hands and eyes and merchandise,
And are with gazing most content.

“His 1894 poem “The Phoenix” was composed entirely while asleep. “I dreamed the whole poem in a dream, in 1894, I think, and wrote it down in the middle of the night on a scrap of paper by my bedside,” he wrote. “It is a lyric of a style which I have never attempted before or since. … I really can offer no explanation either of the idea of the poem or its interpretation. It came to me so (apparently) without any definite volition of my own that I don’t profess to understand or to be able to interpret the symbolism.”

Legend of The Phoenix

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