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Undated Draft of "Dear Elizabeth" believed to be the fourth version of the poem
Yes, I would like a pair of Bica Lacquas
("about 3" long, including the tail,
with red bills and narrow bright red masks."
The male, you say, has a sort of drooping
mandarin-mustache--one black stripe--
but plump, their feathers incredibly soft, shade from brown to gray on top,
to pale beige, then
white, with a rose red spot on the belly."
The pattern of plumage so fine, you tell me, that
one has to put on reading glasses to appreciate it: ripples of color, alternating
lights and darks,
just like wavelet-marks on the sand flat
when the tide's out. Do they sing? If they do,
I'll bet their note is beyond range--minute, and so extreme it's not something one hears
one must watch the cat's ears to detect it!
" Their nest must be small as a fist,
with a doorway in the side barely wide enough
for both to get into, to sleep." and I'd
promise, my very best, to manage their care.
"They're very delicate." not easy to keep Never mind. On the
back porch on Perry St. here I'd I'll build
I will build them a little Brazil- I willsave
every shred of New York sunshine from June
to September, and work through the winter to
sew them a bed. Altho SoTheir egg,
you say, is apt to be only about as big as
as a baked bean. It rarely hatches in captivity,
you mean. Still, I could hope...The Bica Lacquas...is it "beaks
of lacquer" or "sealing wax?" -- the words are
the same in Portuguese. "From the front
they look like a pair of half-ripe strawberries"
--except for that stripe. Yes, I'd like them!
If you would be so kind. Especially as
in your P.S. you say, you already have two unwed
female wild canaries, for which you must find
wild canaries , for which you must findhusbands
husbands, in order to have a little song around there.