The Peacock's Tale
(For Fanny Howe)


The costume of the people is so wretched, that, to a one who has not practiced such visitations, it is almost inconceivable. Shoes or stockings are seldom to be seen on children and often not on grown persons, so yet they stand shod only in the plush of their red bogs, making unsteady verticals.

The rags in which both men and women are clothed are so worn and complicated, that it is hardly possible to imagine to what article of dress they have originally belonged. Duds, threads, fatigues and once-fancy hand-me-downs step out in parallel, all swaddled in knots, bedizened in glad rags; wardrobes run down past the least coherence.

It has been observed that these sheer beasts never dismantle themselves of their clothes when they go to bed; but the fact is, that not only are they in general destitute of blankets, but, if they once took off their clothes, it would be difficult to put them on again. Is not this a terrible way to be naked: wanting spread or comforter, however mute; to lie in envy of the gravel under grass?

Thus, their habit is worn day and night till it literally falls to pieces; and even when first put on, it is usually cast-off fragments; for there is not one subject out of ten who ever gets a coat bespoke, but chaff away instead their little means at hazard, where at last, exposed by numbers and for lack of other stuff, they pawn the nails of their fingers and toes, with shirred and smooth and shaggy, even to their kelder and dimissaries. That's the way they walk in view: tender and fractious, unsheltered and exposed, while yet not wholly detached, as the moth waits famished and the needle rusts.

 

God!
   Just think
        of all those pianos
standing
    with their white
        tusks

splayed
    in anticipation of toccatas.
        So toe
that foxtrot,
    glide
        your finery,

and be glad to be in the first
    frush
        and you'll  get by.
Chaffer away
    as the spitfire
        blooms

run
    above you.
        Untache yourself, would you,
and get up
    on that stone
        like a bloody peacock!

Get yourself into
    the swim.
        Sure, any animal
is "disfigured"
    when disrobed of its
        hide,

"and cold too",
    as the motley
        sow
remarked to her farrow.
    Unbrace yourself there
        in front of

 the warmth.
    Let that uniform
        out a loop
and join us in the next
    tranche
       laundered.

The bunny hugs
    its burrow
        as the addict
does his coupon.
    You can never have too much
        exposure.

But I cannot lie!
    Bleach
        leached once
even into my livery,
    quite stemmed
        that old cashflow.

I'd a damned sight sooner
    break
        into a pavan
than go higgling
    with those demons.
        Let the cast of them

go splat
    and which of you would raise
        a finger
to get out?
    Climb past these
        unmentionables let you.

The human
    is a thing
        who
walks
    around
       disintegrating.

Trevor Joyce

>>>De Iron Trote

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