Poem: Gratitude of the Phoenix 

Rivendell Retreat Centre, May 2006

Plumage shining
The phoenix spreads new wings
And sings its first
Spontaneous song:

I entered the flames at sunset,
Flames that seared and burned
And devoured the world.
My feathers turned to ashes,
My wings turned to ashes,
My flesh and sinews turned to ashes,
Thoughts turned to ashes,
Memories turned to ashes,
Hopes and expectations
Drifted away on the smoke
From the funeral pyre.

I was so reduced
So almost nothing
A few ounces of greyness
Beneath the desert stars
That it seemed the night wind
Would rise and scatter me forever.

But all was stillness and silence,
As I waited, patiently enough,
For something I could
No longer remember.

But nothing happened.
The ashes grew cold and dim
In the chill of the night.

And still nothing.

Until at last it dawned on me:
I must give up waiting,
Even patiently,
For anything at all.
I must love these ashes
As I loved my life.

At that, at tiny ember
Glowed in the midst of the darkness
And became a single
Golden feather.

In that one moment
I remembered my destiny.
With all the love of my heart
I kindled the crumbled grey powder
Back into life.

By the time the Sun
Had crept upon my funeral pyre
I was whole
And made anew,
Reflecting its rays
From wings of red and gold.

And I am grateful to the fire,
Grateful to the night
Grateful to the ashes
That gave me birth
As I set out
On fresh wings
Into an unexplored sky.


From my first collection of poems. Thirty dragons and other poems, available from Lulu.