The phoenix was scrutinising the surroundings with care,
paying especial attention to the mob.
Then it swooped from the nest as it spotted something there
it clearly considered to be just the job.
It startled one man in the crowd who had weathered the disdain
and now wanted to finish with flair.
He took his cigarette butt and flicked it towards a drain
when the phoenix plucked it out of midair.
It wheeled, returning to its nest, away from the man with the frown,
who now considered it no more than a pest.
But for Alan, Brian & Charlie time appeared to slow down
as the phoenix dropped the butt into its nest.
For those that were watching the principle reaction was disbelief
despite knowing that this moment would come.
For a few of those present the shock sparked off absolute grief.
While the remainder were merely struck dumb.
The phoenix’s response differed as it elevated its head
and let out a triumphant cry.
Exhausted it slumped back among the flickering orange and red
flames. Clearly quite ready to die.
Burning nest was scattered as the morning wind gusted.
The flashpoint was reached all of a sudden.
Then the phoenix not-so-spontaneously combusted,
going up like magnesium ribbon.
The force caused more sparks to go forth and multiply
setting various museum parts aglow.
The effect on those who were watching was to stultify.
They looked as startled as a passport photo
They were temporarily blinded thanks to the flash
which caused all the rest to turn round.
So it was only the blasé saw the phoenix turn to ash
then crumbling start to drift to the ground.
But as the blinded, gradually regained sight, they could see
that the flames still fed on the cremains.
And the fire, though starved, continued to burgeon unreservedly
as if it were being fed by alkanes.
There was simply no way the flames could continue to rise
and yet, as all saw, they grew higher.
Until finally, unbelievably, in full view of all eyes
they no longer connected to the pyre.
This was a situation that to all present seemed absurd
until it underwent a reinterpretation.
Then they all realised that they were looking at a bird
which had to be the phoenix’s reincarnation.
In awe, once more the media took to the floor
to tell how the phoenix became
(and in this they were unanimous as never before)
as colourful and as lively as a flame.
Meanwhile the phoenix swooped and circled and soared
on thermals from the burning museum.
Until a bucket chain, formed from the assembled horde,
kept further draughts to a minimum.
It was clear by now that the phoenix was a creature of the sky
but it landed with a grace few would predict.
Then an asbestos net was thrown by a policeman who explained why
“I’m arresting you for arson. You’re nicked!”