Saturday, August 22, 2015


Phoenix bird! Don't you know him?
The bird of paradise, the holy swan of song? 
He sat on the car of Thespis, like a chattering raven, flapping his black gutter-stained wings
the swan's red, sounding beak swept over the singing harp of Iceland
he sat on Shakespeare's shoulder 
disguised as Odin's raven, and whispered, "Immortality!" into his ear
and at the minstrels' feast he fluttered through the halls of the Wartburg.

Phoenix bird! Don't you know him? 
He sang the Marseillaise to you, and you kissed the feather that fell from his wing
he came in the glory of paradise, and perhaps you turned away from him toward the sparrow that sat with gold tinsel on its wings.

The bird of paradise-renewed each century-born in flame, dying in flame!
Your portrait in a frame of gold hangs in the halls of the rich, 
but you yourself often fly around lonely and misunderstood-a myth only. 

"The phoenix bird of Arabia."

When you were born in the garden of paradise
in its first rose, beneath the tree of knowledge
our Lord kissed you and gave you your true name-poetry!
~Hans Christian Andersen