Fairies’ sweepers, so says the poet!

“Peacocks sweep the fairies’ rooms; They use their folded tails for brooms;

But fairy dust is brighter far

Than any mortal colours are;

And all about their tails it clings

In strange designs of rounds and rings;

And that’s why they strut about

And proudly spread their feathers out

~Rose Fyleman

Isn’t that a lovely poem! I chanced upon this poem by Rose Amy Fyleman, an English poet who was well known for her fairy poems for children. The poet says the peacocks were the sweepers of fairies. Thus the idiom ‘proud as a peacock’ is fully justified!

Peacocks fascinate everyone with their resplendence. Poets say, when the rain clouds gather in the sky the peacocks dance with joy! The birds were familiar through poems and stories, in my young days. Other than zoological gardens or some temples they were hardly seen elsewhere.

The birds were seldom seen near human habitation those days. But in recent years, they have become a common sight. In most parts of Kerala, including our small village Anakkara, peafowls are seen fearlessly strutting around, flaunting their iridescent plumes and train.

The shrill shrieks of the peafowls from the paddy fields in front are quite normal during my visits to amma. Along with the chirp and tweet of the smaller birds, Anakkara mornings have become noisier with the cacaphonous calls from these birds! The bevy of peafowls parade in the fields across the road with the chicks, forage around the house and walk across the road without any fear.

Caution! Peahens crossing the road. Madam Peahen is hurrying to join the ‘party’ on the other side of the road!

Some peacock facts I learnt recently: Peacocks shed their train after mating season, hence Man can gather the feathers by not harming the bird, unless he wishes to be too greedy. Tiny crystal like structures present in the feathers give the shimmering blue and green colours of their plumage. Usually there are three to four females and a male in a harem of peafowls. A peahen’s crest has sensors and is attuned to the vibrating frequencies of the rattling of the male’s train!

Contrary to my belief, the white peafowls are not a specific species. They are the ones with a genetic mutation called leucism, that causes lack of pigmentation.

It looks exciting to follow the colourful trail of peacock tales! The bird has a prominent place in Greek, Egyptian, Roman and Hindu mytholigies. Hopefully I shall unfurl the stories in another blog post.

7 thoughts on “Fairies’ sweepers, so says the poet!

  1. This was such an interesting post. Did you know that one of our best authors (well, in my opinion), Flannery O’Connor, raised peacocks? My funniest peacock story involves the sounds they make. I was working on a boat on a private canal, when I heard the most unearthly scream — it was terrible. It didn’t stop, and it sounded like someone was being murdered. I called the owner of the boat, and said, “Uh — I can hear a woman screaming, and I’m not sure what to do.”

    He laughed and laughed. “Not to worry,” he said. “It’s the neighbor’s peacocks. They do that.” Sure enough a couple of days later, I spotted a pair of them walking through the yard. What birds they are!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Linda. I was reading about Flannery O’ Connor.. Sad she died so young! Unbelievable that a 100 peafowls she used to keep at home! Your story of the peacock is fascinating, and even more fascinating is to hear about your experiences! True their cacophonous calls can startle you!


  2. I am not surprised by your pick Peacock as I also feel there is a limited number of adorable and beautiful creatures walking on this earth . Stunning in it’s beauty peacock is considered the manifestation of celestial phoenix on earth..your photos,write ups and the colour sketch really show how passionate you are with it..keep spreading the light of art my dear friend and eagerly waiting for the next colourful platter…..love and hugs

    Liked by 1 person

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