Deer are frequent visitors to our yard, especially when there are young shoots on which to nibble. They leap a fence to enter, but we think they feel safe behind our fences. The two below are beneath our blossoming plum tree. They will be back later to eat plums, either from low-hanging branches or from the ground. They seem to prefer the ones on the ground which are often fermented. Alcoholic deer?
Our most notable backyard visitor was a peacock, a solitary bird from parts unknown, who took up residence and began to advertise loudly for a mate. The neighbors complained so bitterly that we called the pound. The animal control officer brought a wire cage large enough to hold a peacock or even a small mountain lion, and baited it with choice seeds. The peacock never was tempted inside but slept on top of it. At the end of the summer, having attracted no similarly displaced peahens,
he shed his feathers and disappeared.
He did, however, inspire me to write this poem:
THE FERAL PEACOCK
Regally he paces into view --
step, then pose, then step --outside our room,
small imperious head with swept-back plume
balanced on its column of shocking blue.
He wears his wedding raiment, trailing train
or iridescent satin, feathered sheen
of circlets -- emerald, sapphire, turquoise green
on shifting bronze and gold. We tap the pane.
His strident outcry penetrates out walls,
pierces our minds, awakens memory
of gothic tales, estates that used to be.
What is it he demands with raucous calls?
His hens? He was alone when he appeared
and claimed our unkempt yard, small urban stage.
Wide lawns of empire lost, another age
when he could strut and preen and never feared
the thorny vines that strip each nether quill?
Shrill, he summons his retinue. Who comes?
We lean past garbage pails and toss him crumbs,
sole loyal subjects who obey him still.