859. The Phoenix

Arthur Christopher Benson. b. 1862

BY feathers green, across Casbeen
  The pilgrims track the Phoenix flown,
By gems he strew'd in waste and wood,
  And jewell'd plumes at random thrown.

Till wandering far, by moon and star,
  They stand beside the fruitful pyre,
Where breaking bright with sanguine light
  The impulsive bird forgets his sire.

Those ashes shine like ruby wine,
  Like bag of Tyrian murex spilt,
The claw, the jowl of the flying fowl
  Are with the glorious anguish gilt.

So rare the light, so rich the sight,
  Those pilgrim men, on profit bent,
Drop hands and eyes and merchandise,
  And are with gazing most content.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition