William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for September 2020

The Cricket and the Wind

One fall evening, as the stars appeared one by one, a cricket said to the wind, Fellow prophet, what is your opinion? Is anyone listening? And the wind replied, Only the end of the world. The cricket thought about this for some time. Alas, that is something I cannot imagine. You are fortunate. You have traveled, and that is a place you have seen. The wind paused. Feeling pity for […]

Continue Reading →

Remember This Always

The park by the river is now a vast dried flower arrangement, mixed ever so lightly with Queen Anne’s Lace, mostly in its ornamental seed stage. Instead of sweetness, pollen, and a hum in the air, the hushed atmosphere is ripe and beyond; there is dust, there is decay, almost as if heaven has heard our voices, and reluctantly looked away. The berries have been picked; the hops harvest is […]

Continue Reading →

Matins

What can I possibly want in a world that has already given me everything? August 27, 2020 . Matins Oh, how he loved the bell in the garden, rusted, silent, cool — and when the first leaf fell, he laughed, and wept, like a fool — and while he sat, on a stone, with his white hair, his old hands let go of the world. . [ 851 ]

Continue Reading →

Robin Smiles

The robins and I have a funny ritual. Every afternoon, in the cool shade of the house, they scratch up the front flowerbed and scatter dirt on the sidewalk. Every morning, I sweep it all back in. Then I water the sweet alyssum and dahlias, thus maintaining the conditions that attract them. Sometimes, when I stand by the window, I see them looking up at me, heads turned just so, […]

Continue Reading →

Once Upon a Rose Garden

It’s one thing to order the destruction of an historic rose garden; more tragic, though, is that there’s always someone willing to follow such orders, when the intelligent, logical thing to do is refuse: No — if you want to destroy something everyone holds in trust, do it yourself, with your own hands, for all the world to see. And if you’re worried about blisters, you might try a moral […]

Continue Reading →

Dostoevsky and Van Gogh

Having fortunately lived long enough to finish reading all three volumes of Vincent’s letters, I have moved on to Dostoevsky’s Diary of a Writer, in Boris Brasol’s English translation, published in two volumes by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1949. After years of being away from Dostoevsky’s great novels and stories, coming upon him in the somewhat more casual, conversational mode of his periodical writings is much like having coffee with […]

Continue Reading →

Reason

It’s probably no more insane to imagine reason, than it is reasonable to imagine insanity. Still, I feel compelled to ask myself: What is my insanity, reason, and imagination to make of such a statement, even though I’m the one who made it? Also: Am I merely being clever, or am I serious? Am I a model student, or a class clown? Either way, or all — I am reminded […]

Continue Reading →

Summer Advice

At ten-thirty this morning, the sun makes my arms feel like they’re about to become wings; the shade is the spirit of cool and quiet things. August 24, 2020 . Summer Advice Kiss each other in the shade after you’ve eaten a juicy ripe peach. No shade, imagine the tree. No peach, imagine the taste. No one, no one with a heart out of reach. Poems, Slightly Used, June 1, […]

Continue Reading →

Last Rites

Each silence has its corresponding sound, and the other way around. The bird, the bee, the softly falling gown. The words by which they’re known. The waiting train, the one insane, the cricket, and the temple bell. The gentle rhyme, the end of time, the thing that makes you smile now. . [ 845 ]

Continue Reading →

Not One Child at the Flower Show

Life is a dream to one, a harsh reality to another; a field of flowers, a prison yard. And here is one of the guards, who thinks it is both, watching a butterfly as it passes over the wall. The guard is killed in an accident on the way home. Somehow, he remembers it all. There are flowers at his funeral. They are in bunches and rows, and they remind […]

Continue Reading →