Thursday, November 27, 2014

Poem 01 - The Peacock - English Elective Class XI Notes - Woven Words

Poem 01 - The Peacock


His loud sharp call
seems to come from nowhere.
Then, a flash of turquoise
in the pipal tree.
The slender neck arched away from you
  as he descends,
and as he darts away, a glimpse
  of the very end of his tail. 
I was told
that you have to sit in the veranda
  and read a book,
preferably one of your favourites
  with great concentration.
The moment you begin to live
inside the book
a blue shadow will fall over you.
The wind will change direction,
The steady hum of bees
In the bushes nearby
Will stop.
The cat will awaken and stretch.
Something has broken your attention;
And if you look up in time
You might see the peacock
turning away as he gathers in his tail
to shut those dark glowing eyes,
violet fringed with golden amber.
It is the tail that has to blink
for eyes that are always open.


The theme of this poem is the beauty of nature and the importance of being present in the moment to fully appreciate it. The peacock is used as a symbol of this beauty and is described in vivid detail, capturing the reader's attention and encouraging them to take notice of the world around them. The poem also suggests that we need to let go of distractions and be fully immersed in the present moment in order to truly appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.


At the outset of the poem, the poet portrays the peacock's grandeur and loveliness. Throughout the verses, the poet anthropomorphizes the peacock as a male entity, referring to him as 'he.' The bird's piercing cry is difficult to locate, as it appears to emanate from an indiscernible source. The sound actually comes from the peacock, which can effortlessly fly to the top of a pipal or peepal tree, where it is often hidden. Against the verdant background of the pipal tree, the peacock's distinct turquoise hue (a combination of blue and green) glimmers. When it senses a human watching it, it moves its slim neck and darts away, leaving behind only a fleeting glimpse of its tail.

The poet now describes a small ritual for seeing a peacock that she has been advised to follow. One should sit on the veranda and immerse themselves in a book, preferably a cherished favorite. Once the reader is fully absorbed in the book's world, a blue shadow will descend upon them, and the wind will shift, subtly drawing attention to the surroundings. The atmosphere grows tranquil ("The steady hum of bees /In the bushes nearby will stop").

The peacock's cry, similar to that of a cat, will be audible ("The cat will awaken and stretch"), drawing attention. If spotted in time, the observer may catch a glimpse of the peacock. The peacock gracefully turns away, its tail feathers closed like shut eyelids, revealing violet borders and golden amber fillers. "It is the tail that has to blink" (the motion of the tail swaying is likened to blinking), but "the eyes are always open," and the patterns never fade. The observer will feel a sense of inner radiance and stillness that is deep and profound.

The scene's depiction highlights the difficulty of seeing a peacock (underscoring the bird's significance), as peacocks are revered, sacred birds that are not frequently encountered in the world. In Indian culture, peacocks are considered celestial and symbolize beauty and power.


  1. Comment on the lines that make you visualise the colourful image of the peacock.

    The lines which help us visualise the colourful image of the peacock are as follows:
    “a flash of turquoise”, “A blue shadow will fall over you", “To shut those dark glowing eyes”, “Violet fringed with golden amber”.
    These lines give us a clear picture of the magnificent bird in all its glory.
  2. What are the cues that signal the presence of the peacock in the vicinity?

    A loud sharp call, flash of turquoise, a disappearing tail end, a blue shadow, the wind changing its direction and the awakening of the cat and its stretch are an indication that a peacock is in the vicinity.
  3. How does the connection drawn between the tail and the eyes add to the descriptive detail of the poem?

    The pattern on the tail of a peacock looks like eyes, but these eyes cannot be blinked. Rather the tail when contracted appears to give an illusion of blinking a lot of eyes together. This adds to the descriptive details of the poem.
  4. How does the poem capture the elusive nature of the peacock?

    The poem captures the elusive nature of the peacock by describing its activities that signal its presence indirectly. For example in the opening line of the poem we hear “His loud sharp call”, or we get a “glimpse of the very end of his tail” in the last line of the first stanza.
    If someone tries his best to get a glimpse of the elusive bird, he “might see the peacock turning away as he gathers his tail”.
    Such a description presents a very elusive nature of the peacock.
  5. The peacock is a colourful bird. How does the poem capture the various colours that its plumage displays?

    The poem captures the various colours of the peacock’s plumage by use of expressions like “turquoise”, “blue shadow”, “dark glowing eyes” and “Violet fringed with golden amber”. These expressions as we can see present the colours associated with peacocks very beautifully.

No comments:

Post a Comment