1st stanza: His body is buried. Hates the thought of leaving it behind. 2nd: “The great Uh” (God) is above him. “Goodness is bits of outer God” is a statement of the divine presence, really, and the image that follows, is also about that small experience of goodness that hints at the existence of the much greater. Sex symbolizes the greater good in the subsequent image, that sleepy, half-dressed woman is a hint of what had happened the night before. 3rd: Except, a real-life problem was that maybe he shouldn’t have entertained the daughter of a friend. He’s reminded that she liked it too, was living her choices, what’s wrong with that? Henry says it had happened before. All this a moment of thinking back on life from within the state of being dead, though the only difference so far is that being disembodied, you can’t have the pleasures that come from being alive, pleasure that hints at the greater presence into whose presence Henry hasn’t quite been admitted yet. So, the thing here is that Henry doesn’t quite seem fully integrated into the beyond. He’s a spirit and a voice cut off from life but still looking back, going over what happened, experiencing some regret and being soothed out of it, longing for life. That’s what a ghost does.
Ghost of a Rhino
Coarse, hot grasses and a muddy
Waterhole were the perfect food. I rolled
In the brown dust, dark Africa
Dry on my broad back
My two horns sharp and hard
Above the power of my great snout
My skin an armor against the tsetse
That drives the kudus bolting
And stamping into the dark forest
Where longing for the good sting
Of equatorial sun pales their nervous
Stripèd spirits. Leopards feared me.
Prides of lions envied my strength.
The great elephants in their herds
Raised their trunks in salute
As they paraded, and the buffaloes
Waggled their shaggy pelts.
Heaven stretches behind us:
Sun-ringing plains, the scratch
Of acacia thorns, the Maasai herders
Ornaments on the veldt’s vast
Canvas. Kilimanjaro ushers Africa
Upward to a blanching with He
Of the White Sun. Here, the grass
Is soft like wet droppings, and sweet,
The waters are flavorless
And cool, and the spotted
Ghosts of hyenas laugh
Madly at the infinite days.