Home Up Why Collect? Fun Learning Credits

 

 

The poem from which the following excerpt is taken was found in a family notebook, copied by 'Kate' Matthew and attributed to 'WDM' (probably her son William Diller Matthew). A whimsical parody on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," the poem chronicles the predator-prey relationship between extinct species Diatryma (a large, flightless bird) and Eohippus (a dog-sized early horse). Eohippus is finally eaten by the bird, but the bird realizes his ultimate fate as a museum exhibit. The last verse contrasts the inert stillness of an inanimate specimen with the vitality of a once-powerful animal:

 

 

"...And the bird in pose commanding,

Will be standing, will be standing. 

Standing next to the Hesperonis,

On the Museum's fourth floor. 

With his giant head erected

Just as if he still expected

Foolish questions oft ejected

By the visitors galore. 

But in spite of all his seeming,

He'll be harmless, save in dreaming,

And will never chase them screaming,

Through the hall, no nevermore."

 

 

From the  Matthew fonds, New Brunswick Museum Archives and Research Library  S105, F66.

 

 

New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, N.B., 1994.10.31

 

George Frederic Matthew and Katherine Diller Matthew, c. 1915

Photographer unknown

silver print, 7.9 x 10.5 cm

gift of William McGowan Matthew, 1994