Thursday, June 8, 2017

Donal Mahoney writes

Lady Goulds

Moving from Chicago to Missouri wasn't easy
but breeding Lady Goulds kept me sane
for many years--well, almost.

I was writing then to make a living.
All day I'd rearrange other people's words.   
I needed Lady Goulds to look at 

in the evening and most weekends.
Otherwise I might have married 
some nice lady for the wrong reason.  

Right now, a canary helps me dance 
away the years or days or hours
I have to face before 

I take on a cane or walker. 
The canary calls the dawn with glee. 
Lady Goulds, you see, don't sing. 

They don't have to.
All they have to do is sit there  
as if Mondrian painted them 

or God lifted a pinkie on the 7th day. 
The beauty of the Lady Gould,
some say, is the result of evolution. 

There was no grand designer,
most scientists maintain.
The Lady Gould is one big accident 

that happened eons ago. 
I find it comforting to stare at them 
and know otherwise.

 Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Gray and Blue (1921) - Piet MondrianComposition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Gray and Blue -- Piet Mondrian

1 comment:

  1. The Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae; also known in the US as the rainbow finch, Gould's finch, or the Lady Gouldian finch) was described by British ornithological artist John Gould in 1844 and named after his wife Elizabeth (who never held the title lady), who made the lithographs of his drawings. It is a member of the weaver-finch family Estrildidae, which is sometimes considered a subfamily of Passeridae, and is found in northern Australia, from the Cape York Peninsula through north-west Queensland and the northern Northern Territory to the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Some of Gould's early work was done in association with Edward Lear, the artist/poet who popularized the limerick with species such as:

    There was a Young Lady whose bonnet,
    Came untied when the birds sate upon it;
    But she said: 'I don't care!
    All the birds in the air
    Are welcome to sit on my bonnet!'
    There was an Old Man with a beard,
    Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
    Two Owls and a Hen,
    Four Larks and a Wren,
    Have all built their nests in my beard!'
    Gould's skill as a taxidermist led to his employment as first curator and preserver at the museum of the Zoological Society of London in 1827. When Charles Darwin presented the specimens he collected on the second voyage of "HMS Beagle" to the Zoological Society of London in 1837, the bird specimens were given to Gould for identification. He reported that the birds from the Galápagos Islands which Darwin had thought were blackbirds, gross-bills, and finches were in fact "a series of ground Finches which are so peculiar" as to form "an entirely new group, containing 12 species." He later told Darwin that his Galápagos "wren" was yet another species of finch. Darwin had not bothered to label his finches by island, but others on the expedition had taken more care, and Darwin sought specimens collected by captain Robert FitzRoy and crewmen; from them he was able to establish that the species were unique to islands, an important step on the inception of his theory of evolution by natural selection. The following year the Goulds sailed to Australia to study the birds there; his "The Birds of Australia" included 600 plates in seven volumes; 328 of the species described were new to science and named by Gould.

    According to "The Book of Genesis," God created the universe in six days, then rested on the seventh. He made the birds on the 5th day.

    Piet Mondrian was a Dutch artist who invented the neoplasticism style of abstract art which employed only the straight line, the three primary colors, and the neutrals of black, white and gray.


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