Mutations of the Phoenix


We have rested our limbs
in some forsaken cove
where wide black horns of rock
Weigh on the subdued waters
the waters
menaced to quiet.

Our limbs
settle into the crumbling sand.
There will be our impress here
until the flowing tide
all designs the fretful day leaves here.

The blood burns in our limbs with an even flame.
The same sundering flame
has burnt the world and left these crumbling sands.
The one flame
burns many phenomena.

The limbs
have their arcadian lethargy
holding the included flame
to a temporal submission.

The flame
burns all
the ducts and chambers of our tunnelled flesh
to focus flame
to its innate intensity.
is a whirl of atoms.
At one moment a whorl of what is seen —
a shell
A shell
convoluted through time —
endless and beginningless time.

Will this sea
throw such symbols round our limbs
when the white surf recedes?
Does a white flame
burn among the waves?

Will a phaenix arise
from a womb evolved
among the curved crests of foam?
At Aphrodite's birth
were the waters in white flame?


Why should I dwell in individual ecstasy?
It is a hollow quarry of the mind
rilled with rock drippings, smoothed with silt;
And only the whorlminded Hamlet walks there
musing in the gutters.

We now leave this infinite well,
where naught is found — naught is definite,
to emerge:
to scan the round of vision,
a greedy eye wanting things finite
and enumerate to the mind.


Mind wins deciduously,
hibernating through many years.
Impulse alone is immutable sap
and flowing continuance
extending life to leafy men.
Effort of consciousness
carries from origin
the metamorphic clue.
The cap is here
in conscience humanly unique;
and conscience is control, ordaining the strain
to some perfection
not briefly known.


We must not be oversubtle with these fools
else we defeat ourselves, not urging them.
They are in the filmy undergrowth
driven by frenzies whom they see
seductively mirrored in their minds.
Yet how persuade a mind that the thing seen
is habitant of the cerebral cave
and has elsewhere no materiality?
But like a lily lust
haunting the withered groins of crones
is a phantom desperate to reason.
Shall the phaenix devour
the horrid insurrection?
His flames are incinerary of much evil —
of all evil evident to the mind.
But here where naught but sick moonshine
is thrown from reflective facets
the seductive are the more lustreful phantoms.
In the clearing: in solar ruddiness
ends lunar moodiness.
There silhouettes are etched
not phantomly
but in living areas of the mind.


The sea fringe breaks
along the yellow shore
and is finite to the vision.
So time breaks in spume and fret
of intersifted worlds.
Our world is invisible
till vision
makes a finite reflection.
Then the world is finite —
cast in the mould and measure
of a finite instrument.

You can't escape: don't escape
poor easeless human mind.
Better leave things finite.
See where that curled surf clashes
in a wreath, in a running crest,
in a fan of white flame!
All the past lives there —
lives as time breaks
in spume and frets of intersifted worlds.

All existence
past, present and to be
is in this sea fringe.
There is no other temporal scene.


The phaenix burns spiritually
among the fierce stars
and in the docile brain's recesses.
Its ultimate spark
you cannot trace.
Its spark out
and out is existence.
Time ends: time being vision —
reflected interaction of any elements.
But vision is fire.
Light burns the world in the focus of an eye.
The eye is all: is hierarch of the finite world.
Eye gone light gone, and the unknown is very near.


Phaenix, bird of terrible pride,
ruddy eye and iron beak!
Come, leave the incinerary nest;
spread your red wings.

And soaring in the golden light
survey the world;
hover against the highest sky;
menace men with your strange phenomena.

For a haunt seek a coign
in a rocky land;
when the night is black
settle on the bleak headlands.

Utter shrill warnings in the cold dawn sky;
let them descend
into the shuttered minds below you.
Inhabit our withered nerves.


This is the holy phaenix time.
The sun is sunken in a deep abyss
and her dying life transpires.

Each bar and boss
of rallied cloud the fire receives.

Till the ashen sky dissolves.

The mind seeks ease
now that the moon has risen
and the world itself is full of ease.

The embers of the world
settle with a sigh, a bird's wing, a leaf.
There is a faint glow of embers
in the ashen sky.
These stars
are your final ecstasy,
and the moon now risen
golden, easeful.

The hills creep in mistily —
the tide is now a distant sigh —
like hounds outstretched
they guard the included peace —
the tide a muted ecstasy.

The river carries in its slaty bed
an echo from the sea.

But we leave
even the river is lost.

No sound now.
No colour: all black: a cave.

In the cavern's mouth
the moon is hidden.

Yet still the stars —
intense remnants of time.

O phaenix,
O merciful bird of fire,
Extinguish your white
hungry flames.
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