Poetry challenge #30: Peacock garden

The image plus a handful of words prompt is one I like a lot, so I’m doing it again this week. Tell me if it’s getting boring, but I have the feeling it’s a popular idea. First, I found this painting, which made my skin crawl just a little. Is it a dream or a nightmare? Are the birds welcoming or defiant? Is it dusk, dawn, a gloomy day or a moonlit night? Why is her right hand half-raised? You decide.


Then I thought of a few suitable words to go with the image:

indigo, cry, night bird, fleeting, forbidden

and I came up with this poem.

Peacock Garden


The cry of the peacock, his raucous voice warning,

Shaking proud plumes in the indigo night.

She enters regardless, the forbidden night garden,

Fluttering feather heart beating in time

To the ripples of anger, the seething bird fury,

Snatching her courage in hooked beak and claws.

The vision is fleeting, the glitter of starlight,

Falling in cold waves on dark distant shores.

His familiar stride, arms swinging, retreating,

Tossing behind him a handful of blooms.

She knows from the sound as they fall by the wayside,

The brittle, sweet fragments of love she will find,

Scattered like tears on the indigo storm wind,

Useless and vain as a peacockโ€™s gold crown.


Leave the link to your poem, any style, any form, in the comments and I’ll post all the entries next Tuesday as usual. You have one week from now…


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

39 thoughts on “Poetry challenge #30: Peacock garden”

  1. Beautiful, incisive writing towards a matter.
    Every line was unfolding an interesring tale. – Cezane

  2. An enticing image. I look forward to engaging with it. And your poem creates a rich scene for a night vision…captures the unsettled feelings you alluded to.

  3. Before I read your poem, but after the intro, looking at the image i thought all of the peacocks are male, and then i read your poem…the mystery of what propels us toward the fragmented, toward what we know will not fulfill us. Is it merely that is forbidden that some souls must tread forward when the signs say go back?

    1. I think it’s something in the female that wants to try and pick up the pieces even when faced with the defiant, senseless, destruction of maleness, and when they know that even mended, what they have will be not worth the trouble. They are just convenient handles, there are men who have the qualities we tend to think of as feminine, and women who are as aggressive and brutish as any gangsta. I saw the garden as his private preserve, the peacocks (rather than peahens) guarding his back, while he swans off into the sunset.

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