John Robert Brown, Leeds
Here, warm in the greenhouse, alongside her snug bed
Purrs an old mackerel tabby. She waits to be fed,
While a hefty spurred peacock looks down from the wall
Round the quiet kitchen garden, at Normanby Hall.
A patrician old fowl, he parades with cool poise.
Long-tailed and superior, he grates his coarse noise,
Then turns silent in August; I can’t say why.
His plumage, iridescent, is blue as the sky
Where interference reflections harness the light
His plumage is radiant. (His legs are plain white).
On the top of his head sprouts a wonderful crest
Which declares to his peahens: “Behold! I’m the best.”
Before long, in the young peahens’ nest there’ll be eggs,
Pale white their colour to match her mate’s pasty legs.
“Oh look, look,” he’ll squawk loud, “Every peahen my bride.”
To entice more young peahens he’ll spread his train wide.
Meanwhile, old tabby cat sleeps, still, under the wall
Of the old kitchen garden at Normanby Hall.