Curtain Call of the Peacock’s Plume

By Reece Sellers-Mitchell

The Ploughshare Tortoises’ shells are vandalised

By conservationists to save their lives,

Their being marred will make them be tossed aside

By poachers, as only ugliness will save their hide.

The tortoise had to compromise

But the elephants have had to homogenise,

They cannot afford to be long of tusk

Without risking being returned to dust.

Excessive ivory and an elaborate shell

In the wild would serve you well,

But the hunter’s knife annihilates all that excels.

When you dominate nature, why not also violate,

Why observe when you can eradicate.

Think of the crestfallen majesties

Who stare sadly at their deformities,

And the shrinking finery of their bodies,

The reluctantly diminishing ivory

My peers are dulling,

Compromising to avoid culling.

Why let beauty roam free range,

When its corpse can grace your grange.

Like Satan slipping into the lesser Snake

We must tarnish ourselves for our life’s sake,

For our bodies’ architecture you will smash

To get a glimmer of beauty within your grasp.

With my feathers, I’m sticking out my neck

I fear that I, the Peacock will be next.

We proved our worth to carry this bouquet,

A crime punishable by death, for our display.

Like the mocked pictures caught on camera

Of an ageing performer from a fading era.

They were once allowed to show their beauty

On stage for all to hear and to see.

People no longer get a thrill

In just seeing magnificence

For some, the elegance is in the kill

To rip at glamour with insults

At the thing that dares to be dazzling, results

In the Starlets’ receding from public view

And all the head-bowed peacocks greying in hue.

This plumage that we bore

Once commanded all to adore,

Now my feathers have shed to the floor

Where they command no more.