mythical bird of great beauty,
the only one of its kind, fabled
to live 500 or 600 years in the
Arabian wilderness, to burn itself
on a funeral pyre and to rise in its
own ashes in the freshness of youth . . ."
Years ago I accompanied my mother to a local used book fair to see what we could find. As I picked up a well worn poetry anthology, the first page, featuring a simply drawn Phoenix, broke loose from the binding and fluttered out onto the dusty table. My mom proceeded to purchase the book for me because I was so drawn to this mystical frontispiece, which I stuck back inside the front cover for safekeeping.
When I got home, I placed it in the little frame that you can see below and kept it propped on my desk all through college and grad school. Since then, I've read many more elaborate descriptions and seen many more intricate paintings of the famed and noble Phoenix, but this is still the one -- always propped somewhere amongst my papers and notebooks -- that inspires me with the hope of eternal creativity. I can no longer say for sure what became of the poetry book or even what it looked like, but it was really the Phoenix -- still with me! -- that I was after.
by English Cavalier Poet, Thomas Carew (1594 - 1640)
Ask me no more whither doth haste
The nightingale when May is past . . .
Ask me no more where Jove bestows,
When June is past, the fading rose;
For in your beauty's orient deep
These flowers, as in their causes, sleep. . . .
Ask me no more if east or west
The Phoenix builds her spicy nest;
For unto you at last she flies,
And in your fragrant bosom dies
[emphasis added; Click here for complete text]