The Phoenix

Clark Ashton Smith

I, I alone have seen the Phoenix fail,
His regal wings their vibrant glories vail
In gyres of baffled crimson, flagging gold
Below the heaven of his conquests old.
I, I alone have seen the Phoenix build
His pyre with bitter myrrh and spices filled
Amid the ardent waste; and none but I
Has known his death and immortality,
Has watched the yellowy teeth of flame consume
Shell-tinted beak and heaven-painted plume,
Has heard the fatal anguish of his cries
And felt the fierce despair with which he dies
Oblivious of that rebirth to he.
Nor shall another know the mystery
Of flames that turn to plumes, and ashes stirred
To yield once more the fiery-crested bird
With beating rainbow pinions that arise
And take again the lost Sabean skies.

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