Brian S. Lee: Phoenix


Of Phoenix you no doubt have heard,
That’s if you know your Pliny,
A fabulous and lonely bird,
Unique, without a twin he.

Five hundred years and seventy
He lives a mateless drone,
Till in the last event he
Decides it’s time to clone.

He makes his nest a Guy Fawkes pyre
For selfless immolation:
His DNA, surviving fire,
Begets a close relation.

He has no use for Valentine
And loves no earthly thing,
Nor fears extinction of his line
Since he’s his own offspring.

But should an Ancient Mariner
Start shooting albatrosses,
To dodge he may lack stamina
If he the crossbow crosses.

Then darting darted ere his nest
Were fired for cremation,
He’d by a different death arrest
The future of his nation.

Destruction through technology,
He knows by intuition,
Demands he change the way that he
Approaches parturition.

Therefore, when eggs became the norm,
He sought a friendly turtle,
And courted her in proper form:
“You’re sure you’re not infertil(e)?”

He reckoned though without the Bard
Who had the final say,
For him no Phoenix went uncharred:
The fable ends one way.

He joined them in a threnody
With no division twixt ’em,
As disparates in harmony
He has forever fixt ’em.

For Shakespeare thus united them,
To obsequies invited them,
And there alas ignited them,
Chastised and chaste in requiem.