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Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sonnetsday 10


I d e a.

by Michael Drayton


An Allusion to the Phoenix

'MONGST all the creatures in this spacious round
Of the birds' kind, the Phoenix is alone,
Which best by you of living things is known ;
None like to that, none like to you is found.
Your beauty is the hot and splend'rous sun,
The precious spices be your chaste desire,
Which being kindled by that heavenly fire,
Your life so like the Phoenix's begun ;
Yourself thus burnèd in that sacred flame,
With so rare sweetness all the heavens perfuming,
Again increasing as you are consuming,
Only by dying born the very same ;
    And, winged by fame, you to the stars ascend,
    So you of time shall live beyond the end.

Michael Drayton was wildly popular around the same time as Samuel Daniel, and Drayton's poetry was prized by Queen Elizabeth. I was drawn to this particular sonnet for the allusion to the phoenix.

Here is a sonnet I wrote last year alluding to the Phoenix, not remembering having ever encountered Drayton's poem back then.

The Flight of the Phoenix
by Anniina Jokinen

Like as the ancient red and golden bird
Of Egypt's Kings and Lords of Araby,
Whose songs Apollo on Olympus heard
And Emperors of Rome gave revery;
So my heart burns with ever-rising flame,
The fiery tendrils licking at their prize;
Th' inferno soon incinerates the same,
And then, scorched through, my heart in ashes lies.
And like the Phoenix' death comes at its birth,
So my poor heart is generated 'new;
Its fledgling voice doth rise to sing your worth,
And it takes wing to fly back home to you.
     And, like unto these never-dying wings,
     So my heart ever loves and ever sings.

(June, 2005)

Tags: Sonnets | Anniina's Poetry

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Blogger Mark A. said...

I feel like such a bad blog reader. I come back and you've got a lot of post I haven't seen. But in my defense, I was working with a 30 minute time limit at the internet cafe in Venice. So between frantically posting pictures and text, checking finances and school mail, I didn't get much time for casual perusal.

Beautiful poem. Yours I mean. I like the slight turn in the couplet. My poems always turn out to be rubbish. The only one I’m semi-happy with is blank verse a la Milton in a short story.

April 17, 2006 8:30 PM  
Blogger Anniina said...

Mark, thanks :) You should not worry about reading my piddling posts while you are in presence of real art in the most beautiful country in the world. Ahh, Florence for you tomorrow, or in this case, today. How I am living vicariously through you two lovebirds! I hope your trip continues to be magnificent - and how can it help but be, when you two know how to "suck the marrow out of life" (and please don't ask me who said that, because for the time being it escapes me). (*^.^*)

April 18, 2006 1:50 AM  
Blogger Mark A. said...

I remember that quote from Robin William's teacher, John Keating, in "Dead Poets Society." Carpe Diem, my captain my captain, and all that. I should say Carpe Vino...that'd be more fun.

April 18, 2006 5:34 PM  
Blogger Anniina said...

yeah it was a "DPS" quote :P Fab movie. Well, you are in Italy, so Carpe Vino :)


April 19, 2006 6:50 AM  

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