Another Thing With Feathers

That kettle of eyes will be watching you.
Each one can perch high on a gable wall

and then wait. Perhaps you will be alone
and a bellowing of chatter will break

your safe solitude to smithereens.
Better yet, make this mistake - fall in love. ...

About the poem

This poem appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of The Dawn Treader magazine.

The poem was one of a sequence inspired by the Dido and Aeneas story in Book IV of Virgil's Aeneid. Within the story is a beautifully written set piece describing an imaginary monster, Rumour, which is a feathered monster with an eye for watching and a tongue for speaking under every single feather. The monster flies around the city spreading gossip, which contributes to the end of the love affair and the downfall of the heroine. 

I found the image very creepy and striking when I first encountered it, and I feel it's a very apt way to describe the predatory nature of gossip. Today, people still love to spread rumours and delight in the drama that ensues. We watch the latest celebrity scandal and their atonement becomes part of the entertainment. 

Although this began as a reimagining of Virgil's writing, I feel it's very relevant today and it's a severe warning that gossip is a dangerous beast and we are all vulnerable to the snatching beak of a monster looking for a new scandal.

You can read more poems from this sequence on my website: