Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I spent a summer day
in the vast garden of Altamont,
long past its time of sculptured yews 
and tended flowers.
Free to roam, roses and azaleas mixed
with daffodils and bluebells
and rhododendron ran wild down the lanes. 
A different, fallen beauty.
But I minded the lake.
Overtaken by lilies,
it could not move in the breeze.
The house, too, was enclosed,
choked by moss and vines, 
its windows shuttered.
On a side veranda,
perched upon a parapet,
a peacock stood alone
waiting, perhaps, for a larger crowd
that did not come.
It spread enormous wings,
opened a wide throat and brayed,
an eerie, high pitched call.
I fancied it missed its fellow creatures
and the sweep of their tails over cut green fields.
Knowing well the call to better days,
I turned away.

Bridget Harwell

*Altamont is a garden in Ireland