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“Target: Peacock”

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I was inspired to write this piece after reading Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds, edited by Billy Collins and illustrated by David Allen Sibley. This poem captures a scene I witnessed in July while visiting Victoria, Canada. This version of the poem benefits from the feedback of local first readers JG and JH.

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TARGET: PEACOCK

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On a stretch of grass in Victoria’s public park

not far from the statue of Queen Elizabeth

once beheaded by vandals, I watch as a little boy

suddenly bolts from his strolling parents to hassle

one of the resident peacocks, a mature male

with a long lavish tale trailing behind him,

an armada of steadfast eyes. The boy aims one

STANZA BREAK

of his sneakers to stomp on feathers, misses, so spits

at the rump of the bird who sidles away quickly

in peace, but the child follows and spits again.

In silence the peacock scuttles off, perhaps

too accustomed to insurrections to cry out

or claw or peck at an ankle, or perhaps seeking refuge

in those trees I passed in front of The Empress,

soft weeping sequoias, imported, limp like flags.

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by Therese L. Broderick

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About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

4 responses »

  1. Wow!

    Love this one—I love peacocks. There are so many boundaries in this poem…the poem is very tense and charged.

    Like

  2. Hi Therese,

    Your poem seems to express outrage in a dispassionate/resigned/detached/reasonable manner whereas my blood was boiling at the boys behaviour!

    Your draft version ended with “unlovely traitor”, which I liked and I wonder what your “private bastion/of American words” means?

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  3. Oh my gosh, Therese, this is gorgeous. Armada of steadfast eyes. The dignity of the peacock is heartrending. It reminds me of the poem you wrote about the dying dog in Egypt (?). Your sympathy and fine eye for animals is wonderful. I love this so much.

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  4. The Peacock is used to these offenses……I had not thought about that :-)

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