I Saw A Peacock

Adam Prosser

When I was young I read the first poem below. You may have read it yourself. It was written in the 18th century, and it's a trick poem, based on the fact that punctuation worked differently two hundred years ago.

I liked it so much that, rediscovering it some years later, I wrote two others using the same trick.

I guess it shows how the difference between fantasy and reality is mostly grammatical in nature.

* * *

I saw a peacock with a fiery tail,
I saw a comet drop down hail,
I saw a cloud wrapped with ivy round,
I saw an oak tree creep along the ground,
I saw a beetle swallow up a whale,
I saw the sea brimful of ale,
I saw a venice glass full fathom deep,
I saw a well full of men's tears that weep,
I saw red eyes all of flaming fire,
I saw a house bigger than the moon and higher,
I saw the sun at twelve o'clock at night,
I saw the man who saw this wonderous sight.

* * *

I saw a dragon eating up the moon,
I saw a shadow on a bare field at noon,
I saw a rabbit chasing a hound,
I saw a young boy rising from the ground,
I saw a lily a million years old,
I saw a mountain of solid gold,
I saw a chalice ten feet wide,
I saw a river dance from side to side,
I saw a maiden flying through the sky,
I saw a raven without using my eye.

* * *

I saw a tiger on a butterfly's wing,
I saw a skull that had learned to sing,
I saw a nightingale made of coloured glass,
I saw a saint that burned me as I passed,
I saw a hearth where devils hissed,
I saw a puppet show blow me a kiss,
I saw a woman under the sea,
I saw a city inside a tree,
I saw a coiled serpent hanging from a door,
I saw a flower, and never saw I more.

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