William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for June 2018

River Country

We parked in the lot near the immense black walnut tree. Its shade is dense this time of year, the moss on its massive trunk and lower branches still green. We’ve seen it in all seasons. We’ve seen it bare in winter, and in its golden profundity in fall. And it’s clear in its presence that wisdom isn’t something one seeks, because it is here. And only the mind is […]

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Joyous, Loud, and Something Else

Coffee on, I was reading near the open front window this morning at a little after four, when a robin started singing, either from the lush volunteer cedar near the walk, or from the roof, or from the tall juniper directly across from the window and behind the dahlias. I couldn’t quite tell, but its voice was so joyous and so loud, all I could do was stop and listen. […]

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Glen Ragsdale, Detail, 1973

Glen Ragsdale, Detail, 1973

  This is a detail from an untitled painting by a close friend of mine, Glen Ragsdale. It was done in 1973 when the artist was seventeen, about a year before he died of cancer. When he finished the painting, he framed it and sold it to my parents for forty dollars because he was short about that much money for his car insurance. After he passed away, a showing […]

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Ink and Pen

How a bird about to sing, instinctively seeks the highest branch. How a bell about to ring, shivers at the hand. How a joy about to be, has always been.   How you are the bird, the song, the branch, the bell, The sound, the hand, the joy, The now, the when.   And how, and then, in one last breath, You put it down, and pick it up, and […]

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When clearing tight small areas of debris, I use our grandson’s miniature rake. When I walk, I notice that most other yards have no tight small areas, because the machines the owners use to maintain order have destroyed them, or otherwise dictated their absence. The standard result is one uniform yard, whereas, when I work outside, I see multiple yards, I see worlds within worlds, I see light and shade […]

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In Season

Strawberries. Blueberries. Blackberries. Cherries. I could spend the next hour experimenting with the order of those four words, to see and hear which looks and sounds best with the color, flavor, and meaning they convey — or the next week, and the next, until berries and cherries give way to melons and peaches. And if I say it’s a listening thing, the falling of water on rocks and the crack […]

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On the north side of the house, not far from the front door, we have a small shade garden that has come about almost entirely of its own accord. It began with the stump of an old bush, a dripping faucet, and a small sword fern under a nearby rhododendron. The fern, moreover, had long been ignored, a stunted, drought-worthy survivor. At the base of the stump is a small […]

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