William Dennis

Stones Are Nothing To My Heart

Bauble gold, cut, set stones,
are nothing to my heart; sacred books
and ancient bones are nothing to my heart.

I’ll never round earth’s corners,
poking under fallen walls; glories spilled
from thrown-down thrones are nothing to my heart.

Every turn entangles me
with this, my time and place; you are my past
and future, unknowns are nothing to my heart.

By heavy, double arm-fulls,
I lay treasure up at night; the wealth of kings
and Davy Jones are nothing to my heart.

Tidy bums and tiny waists,
why can’t I love them, still?  Girls, still children,
hearts on loan, are nothing to my heart.


I Could Not Express

My growing neediness,
a thing that I could not express; you sent me strength
I could not ask for, but I got express.

Braille, the alphabet
of touch, communicates all things; more, say your nervous touches,
than I, through abstract thought, express.

Tears, my shuddering breath,
heart’s blood, beads of sweat, your grasp...still tightening
to see—what might the lover’s knot express?

My speech is halt, my thoughts
are lame, my judgement really ill; thus I may utter
anything but what I ought express.

For all the words stuck
in my throat, my breath cannot get loose; my ribs may break;
what can one heart, so overwrought, express?

Yes, I love you; I thought
you knew.  I thought that you could tell.  My love, my faith,
my need, I should, without forethought, express.

Now, like a cradled babe,
I wave with incoherent hands; what can my dumb-
struck face, however much distraught, express?

What little I convey
against what all I mean to say.  I mean so much;
you mean so much to me, that I cannot express.

The Past Is All In View

Stumbling back
through life’s terrain, the past is all in view; still, smooth and rough
to come are never what I’d call in view.

There are landmarks,
though the early path out-grows my vision; but some, once darkly
looming, now have grown too small to view.

Though, in my blind spot,
I can feel a mortal coldness settling; it warns that, could I
turn— there’d be just glacier wall to view.

Worry, worry,
hollow worry has no bound or core; I cannot want
to turn and face what must appall to view.

Alert as doves,
defenseless but for flight—un-named, un-shaped, I dare not bring
the dread that I would most forestall to view.

The hooded cloak
of panic need not be fitting to cling tight; the longest day,
at last, grows dim and brings night’s fall to view.

William Dennis has appeared in Contemporary Ghazals, Eastern Structures and occasionally, out of ghazal format, in other journals. He lives, writes and gardens just where PA, DE, and MD come together.