thumbing brittle pages
it opens to thirty-five,

LESSON XII, The Genitive (continued)

that word, from college grammar, is a case,
nouns describing other nouns,
‘pack of dogs’ or Will’s ‘dogs of war’
or other such, relegated now to memes
(think ‘murder of crows’ funnies)
or scientific names, like
‘butterfly bush’ (see Wikipedia),
apt this blistering time of year

2. quis nostrum, who of us?

we rely more on possessive cases
in English nouns (true, Google it),
which makes me chuckle,
how unlike the dear genitive
gentle in its modification, un-possessing

3. quid est causae, what reason is there?

now I find myself drawn into
another lesson here,
a lesson of ‘that’s a good question’
as I try to make sense of this
brave new world, post-pandemic,
post wannabe dictatorship
(or is it really all that post?)

7. plus mali, more mischief

indeed, I’m fearful that is the case
(terrible pun, sorry)
and we might yet end up with more
leaders bent on mischievousness (continued),
more radical groups sowing discord

11. hujus modi consilia, plans of this sort

we watch for them every day, in the news
and often find our darker selves
out there, commenting
in the world, and we stare blankly
thinking, we must
make plans of a sort to eradicate
racism, genderism, every ism that threatens

1. Observe that the Genitive of Quality when applied to persons is properly used only of permanent characteristics; incidental or transitory qualities cannot be indicated except by the ablative.

now, the footnote makes me nervous, that perhaps
the genitives I’ve encountered are permanent
and we will never eradicate, or
correct our past, our futures
then —

13. quanti est aestimanda virtus, how highly virtue ought to be prized

the hopeful returns in the lesson,
smiles pass by upon walking the dog,
defenders rise on social media,
hands reach out to refugees, and
good deeds paint the future
around me, and

16. nomen pacis dulce est, the name (of) ‘peace’ is sweet

I breathe again, the sweet air
and I become
thoughtful, inquisitive, and I wonder,
have we found it, are we rekindling
our own genitive case