“Death is a black camel, which kneels at the gates of all.”
-Abd al-Qadir, Algerian military & political leader and poet, 1807-1883
I. Use of the Past Tense
It is surprisingly difficult
to begin to use the simple past
(never simple) or past perfect
(far from): like the quickly-
corrected stumbles we make
in a foreign tongue,
embarrassing ourselves; but here
not only grammar but heart
resists, yearning for the present
indicative, the continued present,
the present of ongoing action
which leads to the future.
When the friend has gone,
we tend to say, “She has passed,”
“He has gone on,” “Dearly departed,”
“We have lost him,” avoiding
the straightforward reference
In some languages each noun
possesses a case, such as ablative
or genitive, and in this case the case
would be accusative; but whom
The verb and the noun
must conform, like to like;
but what is the correct number
V. Dangling Participle
Leaving so much hanging, those who
still live, the conversations which seem
to continue, the unasked and unanswered
questions . . .
VI. Diagrammed Sentences
I | have lost | you
You | are lost
| \to \forever
Conjunctions show relationship.
What has been joined
may then be sundered.
VIII. Subjunctive Mode
Use of the subjunctive expresses
an idea as desirable, supposable,
conditional: Would that she were alive.
If only it were to turn out differently.
I wish she were here with us.
IX. Indefinite Relative Pronoun
Whatever happened had to happen.
Whichever treatment she sought
was inadequate. Whoever could
have believed it would end