The Comparison of the Three Poems Related to the Myth of the Phoenix

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The ancient myth of a phoenix rising from the ashes tells us that if something is destroyed or dead it will inevitably arise from its ashes and reinvent itself. The phoenix myth tells us that there is life after death.Furthermore, the myth has a strong emphasis on reemergence and rebirth. Many people presume that the phoenix myth displays hope and perseverance. In Amy Clampitt’s poem Berceuse we learn that what arises from the ashes is not always peaceful and joyous. Clampitt uses the phoenix myth in comparison to the aftermath of the Holocaust and the Auschwitz death camps. In lines 10-12 Clampitt says, “Decay will undo what it can, the rotten fabric of our repose connives with doomsday.” After this she ends the poem in lines 13-15 by saying, “Sleep on, scathed felicity. Sleep, rare and perishable relic. Imagining’s no shutter against the absolute, incorrigible sunrise.” Clampitt is saying that we should not bring anew the daily memory of what happened at Auschwitz. She is also saying that history will repeat itself. In her eyes, as long as there is a sunrise tomorrow, there is a guarantee that the horrible and vile will repeat its self. What will rise from the ashes of yesterday are not just the peaceful moments of the past, but the war of the past as well. Denise Levertov takes a different approach of relating to the phoenix myth in her poem Hunting the Phoenix. She is saying that you must go to the “ashy nest itself” (line 12) in order to find the “charred feathers, smoldering flightbones, and a twist of singering flame rekinding” (lines 13-15). I interpret this to be the belief that we must take our lives and our struggles and compare them to the past. In the beginning of the play she writes, “Leaf through discolored manuscripts, make sure no words lie thirsting, bleeding, waiting for rescue” (lines 1-4). I think you can relate this to the

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