WILLIAM DENNIS

Most Marvelous Animal in the World

Of living creatures, she
is the most tangible in the world—
the most marvelous animal in the world.

That I might let this little
beast wander, wanting care, of all ideas, 
there’s none more laughable in the world.

Would she shed grace
upon my days, should I disturb her nights?—of all my thoughts, 
the most grammatical in the world.

I fear her flushing cheek’s
blood offering turns some male god’s eye, out-bidding
all the arid asphodel in the world.

The badly molted wings
you used to glide above with, Bill, unlike your nerves—
the most unflappable in the world.


You Know Humanity

You slap my butt and casually
bestow humanity; full well you grasp my flaws,
so well you know humanity.
 
Forgiveness, not so difficult
to cultivate between us; just hope, that hardy weed, 
though, apropos humanity.
 
The open-carry flag
of fully automatic race displays each bearer’s
membership in low humanity.
 
I’d boast Confederate flags sewn on
my cap, back as a boy; you made me snatch them off
for love—quid pro humanity.
 
Forgiving and ignoring: 
it isn’t easy, growing up; look, birds, though pretty, need
not undergo humanity.
 
Wolves kill to eat—men eat to kill, 
some men, some of the time; the War Museum keeps its
display tableau—Humanity.
 
I flatter me and kid myself, 
that monkey shines are bright; how often, in self-interest, 
do I forgo humanity?
 
Polly Ticos puts a single
piggy in the pool, convinced anthropogenic
means big toe humanity.
 
Alike well-dressed and smiling all
together for the shot, what leaders proudly offer
is golf-pro humanity.
 
I look and long for peace at rest, 
once settled on some bottom— the only envy
offered to skid-row humanity
 
Those tired women knew their place, 
and so did those who watched, and no one broke the law
with their jim crowe humanity.
 
To cool your fire element, 
instead of wine, drink water; toast life in what you will, 
they call the overflow humanity, 
 
Observers fresh from Mars can not
believe the lightning pace of glacial change or glacial
pace of slow humanity.
 
Full as a taken squirrel’s
winter store of corn and nuts, our maker never comes, 
and yet, Hello, humanity.
 
I scarce know what to wish myself
and you, the one I love,  and whether to grow into
or outgrow humanity.
 
The problem isn’t yours to solve, 
so let it go, our Bill; it’s saints’ and tyrants’ task
to overthrow humanity.
 

A Lesson We All Have To Learn
            after “The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday,” by Alexander McCall Smith

Bees in my flowers
make flowers the more—a lesson we all have to learn; but bees other powers
do make me feel sore—a lesson we all have to learn.
 
Cold looks and cold shoulders,
cold hearts and cold hands are help weak in wintery blasts; yet tongues burn and fingers,
souls parch and hearts score—a lesson we all have to learn.
 
Lips burning, looks burning,
touching my heart made a heat rising straight to my head; though after the world
was more cold than before—a lesson we all have to learn.
 
It’s best to lose,
your purse or post than either your heart or head, or be, I’ve learned,
a foolish, fond bore—a lesson we all have to learn.
 
Though…ever after happy…
may finish any tale, it’s rare; the good are never
ones Bill feels love for—a lesson we all have to learn.

 

William Dennis encountered ghazal on a trip to Delhi, and has been fascinated by the form, its atmosphere and its history for years. His work has appeared previously on The Ghazal Page and in Contemporary Ghazals, R. W. Watkins, editor. He has a two books of ghazal, available at Amazon in electronic format: Better Than Truth—Not Quite Translations, after Ghalib and Foreign Language—Exploring the Ghazal in English.