I saw a phoenix crumble to ashes
moments before it was pierced with a spear.
I saw the fire of said phoenix seared
after forty gratuitous lashes.
Lord, you've stored up your wrath and your passion.
Have you equally buried your will to restore?
We've captured the dove and baited the phoenix
building Babel again in an effort to force
more ballads of rising, less stories of ashes.
When doves deserve cages and phoenixes actors,
play-acting a semblance of cheap resurrection,
when doves are in cages and phoenixes screen-plays,
we've weakened the wonder, back-shelved all the tension.
But ballads of rising need stories of ashes.
Doves flying can never be kept in cages.
Perhaps the play-acting was just an attempt
to conjure the thing buried deep below
our skins and our bones, and even our souls:
this whole universe came from ashes.