William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

The Curse

In his journal entry for April 4, 1852, Thoreau begins: I have got to the pass with my friend that our words do not pass with each other for what they are worth. We speak in vain; there is none to hear. He finds fault with me that I walk alone, when I pine for want of a companion; that I commit my thoughts to a diary even on my walks, instead of seeking to share them generously with a friend; curses my practice even. Awful as it is to contemplate, I pray that, if I am the cold intellectual skeptic whom he rebukes, his curse may take effect, and wither and dry up those sources of my life, and my journal no longer yield me pleasure nor life. . . . A great many volumes later, his last entry was dated November 3, 1861. He died May 6, 1862. I wonder who the friend may have been; what he did for a living; where he is buried; which of the two preceded the other in death; and if they remained friends until then. Or does this declaration mark a parting of the ways?

And I wonder something else: why do I care — truly care — just as if both of them were still living?

December 31, 2019. Wind. Rain. Evening.

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