I Could Become the Phoenix

For the wild thorns grow tame

And will do nothing to oppose the flame. . . Robert Lowell

I could become volatile and travel on the air

become a thistle seed born along

by my bristly parachute of long white hairs—

if I would just stop clinging to the earth.


I could laze all day:

a vine snake posing as a branch,

trading my culinary concerns

for a lucky chance at sustenance,

if I would simply accept whatever comes

within reach.


I could become the phoenix, or

at the very least wild thorns

not resisting the flame

if I would but give myself

over to love.


Not grasping, not clinging,

not resisting, I could scintillate till I finally ignite—

phoenix-like - from nothing more or less

than midnight tears' heat.


Diane G. Woodcock