cover image I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail

I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail

Illus. by Ramsingh Urveti. Tara (PGW, dist.), $17.50 (56p) ISBN 978-93-80340-14-2

“I saw a peacock with a fiery tail/ I saw a blazing comet drop down hail,” are lines from a piece of 17th-century English trick verse whose meaning alters depending on where the lines break. This slim book takes advantage of that duality, using die-cuts and Indian tribal artist Urveti’s b&w illustrations to illustrate the poem’s multiple potential meanings. In one scene, “a sturdy oak” is seen “with ivy circled round,” but on the next page, it begins to “creep on the ground,” its trunk transforming into rows of beetlelike creatures. With each line building upon the previous one and evoking the line that follows, readers may begin to think of a poem less as a chronological line than as a web of words, images, and possibilities. All ages. (May)