Archive for December 3rd, 2020

Thursday, 3 December 2020

The Peacock by Howard Moss

After we had wintered on the sparrow’s meek
And ordinary music, we desired
The peacock’s cry and iridescent eye,
Some untamed image that the mind might seek
To take it out of winter and restore
The summer wildness that it knew before.

Even in snow, we saw the peacock
Dance its passion in the wintry light.
Setting traps for the petty sparrow,
Mocking sparrow in the name of peacock,
We fed on a pleasure that the future knew,
Not knowing, then, what bird it was we slew.

Many winters since, the snow’s white lead
Has thinned on the doorstep, disarmed the trees,
And snuffed the world out. The sparrows still
Chirp on their prosperous boughs. And yet
The peacock will not lift its gifted head
Or wake in imagination’s waiting bed.

From: Moss, Howard, “The Peacock” in Poetry, Vol. 84 No. 3, June 1954, p. 148.

Date: 1954

By: Howard Moss (1922-1987)