Dusk in the Peacock Garden


Marie_Spartali_Stillman_-_A_lady_with_peacocks_in_a_garden,_an_Italianate_landscape_beyondMy love has crossed the wine-dark sea

At dusk I seek our shrine of dreams

Each night I climb the hilltop path

Each night I stop and do the math


The years I count, much more than three

My love has crossed the wine-dark sea

As indigo falls, peacocks sing

Resplendent eyes on feathered wing


Their song, a cry, fleeting sorrow

Forbidden grief, come tomorrow

My love has crossed the wine-dark sea

Over the hills, away from me


I carry these blooms, his favorite

I smell their scent, and savor it

Peacock garden, I’ll never flee

My love has crossed the wine-dark sea


Jane Dougherty’s Poetry Prompt this week used the painting above

And these words: indigo/cry/night bird/fleeting/forbidden

I didn’t use “night bird,” but I did use night and peacocks. Doug of Elusive Trope inspired me to write a Quatern. It was exactly the form I wanted for this poem. So thank you!








31 thoughts on “Dusk in the Peacock Garden

  1. This was a longing, mournful poem which turned out lovely. 🙂 Merril, the way you were able to work a rhyme in with favorite, made me bow down to your poetic self! Smiles, Robin

  2. First thoughts: form follow function . . . poem matches painting
    Beautiful in a melancholic way, dear poet

    You have found your true calling or perhaps another one of many!

  3. Yes, perfect form, the repetition to underscore the nightly journey. I love the story you created for this painting. And my favorite line is “Each night I stop and do the math” 🙂 Hoping for a different result, no doubt.

  4. The form is indeed perfect for this painting, of the “times” to which it hearkens back. (don’t use the word ‘hearken’ much these days). Hard to imagine a better refrain than “My love has crossed the wine-dark sea” – there is so much captured in this line alone, a whole story contained within it.

    And around the refrain so much terrain is covered, yet not all answered…why is it a “forbidden grief”? – it is better not to know…this place she goes to a secret only between them? Most likely. And she “will never flee” – a vow made of the heart, an acceptance of what is so bitter, and what of the life going forward….I see here decades later making the same trek, no one else in the hamlet ever knowing why she does.

  5. Pingback: Poetry challenge Peacock Garden: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

  6. The title, painting and poetry are woven together seamlessly…creates a dream-like quality full of longing. Just beautiful. Thanks for posting.

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