Beissel, Henry

German/Canadian, (b. 1929)

The Boar and the Dromedar

  1. A wealthy dromedar
  2. sat smoking a cigar
  3. in a quiet desert bar,
  4. when in came with a roar
  5. a mighty tourist boar
  6. who almost broke the door.
  7. He ordered ginger-beer
  8. and for a souvenir
  9. wanted the chandelier.
  10. Up rose the dromedar,
  11. put out his big cigar
  12. and trotted to the bar:
  13. “Wild pig, get out of here
  14. or else I’ll box your ear!
  15. Myself will take the chandelier!”
  16. He called a taxi-star,
  17. went straight to a bazaar,
  18. and for a big cigar
  19. exchanged the chandelier.
  20. O dear, 0 dear, 0 dear!
  21. The boar in his despair
  22. became a whiff of air
  23. shaped like a prickly pear,
  24. and rolled back out the door.
  25. Since then no desert bar
  26. wi1lserve a passing boar
  27. even ginger-beer.

© Henry Beissel. The Wind Has Wings; poems from Canada. New York: H. Z. Walck (1968).

About the Poet:

Henry Eric Beissel (b. 1929), is a poet, playwright, essayist, translator and editor. Born in Cologne, Germany, he studied philosophy at the universities of Cologne and London before coming to Canada in 1951.

After completing his graduate work at the University of Toronto in 1960, Henry taught English literature as a specialist in the medieval and modern periods for 36 years. From 1960 to 1962 Beissel taught at the University of Munich in Germany. From there he went to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and from 1964 -1966 he was Canadian Aid Professor at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.

In 1966, he joined the English faculty at Sir George Williams, now Concordia, University, in Montreal, where he established the Creative Writing program that is still flourishing. He became a Full Professor in 1976, and was promoted to Distinguished Emeritus Professor upon his retirement in 1996.

Beissel has published 16 volumes of poetry, six books of plays, a non-fiction book on Canada, two anthologies of plays intended for use in high schools, and numerous essays and pieces of short fiction.

Henry Beissel now lives in Ottawa with his wife Arlette Franciere, the distinguished translator and painter. [DES-06/14]

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