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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hunting the Phoenix

(Nun by Morris Louis, 1912-1962, American Abstract
Expressionist painter)

Today we begin a month of contemplation guided by poetry. The poem below speaks to a journey of inner discovery made possible by the exploration of past experience.

According to Greek mythology, the phoenix is a wondrous bird with shining red and gold plumage. It lives for centuries until there comes a time when it breaks out into a haunting dirge, before it burns itself on a funeral pyre of spices set alight by the sun and fanned by its own wings. The phoenix then arises from the ashes, renewed, resurrected, to live again.


Leaf through discolored manuscripts,
make sure no words
lie thirsting, bleeding,
waiting for rescue. No:
old loves half-
articulated, moments forced
out of the stream of perception
to play “statue,”
and never released —
they had no blood to shed.
You must seek
the ashy nest itself
if you hope to find
charred feathers, smoldering flightbones,
and a twist of singing flame

~ Denise Levertov (1923-1977), English-born American poet


Tabatha said...

Fantastic ending!

Charles Van Gorkom said...

"Out of the ashes" This is so true, so startling and worthy of contemplation, something poetry expresses like nothing else. Thank-you for this shining blog, how thoughtfully you open doors, one after another!