William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Winter Lullaby

Even at the time, I felt I was living in a dream. My mother was eighty-three, and well on her way to being consumed by Alzheimer’s Disease. Our youngest son and child was eighteen, and beginning his self-guided exploration of music. In the middle of the night, it was common to hear him playing his guitar and singing. Tired as I was, I never once wished he would stop; indeed, I felt a twinge of sadness and disappointment when he did; but these quickly faded into a sense of good fortune and gratitude.


Winter Lullaby

The ice is thick, but I hear him singing.
It’s snowing in my room, the lamp is going dim.
I see frozen fields in twilight bleeding,
White-backed cattle and nostrils dripping,
Tongues and eyes that are never still.

Beside a highway with empty signs,
He paints the powdered sky
With berried brambles at the frame.
Scratch, scratch, scratching at my window,
They’re trying to get in, white nights
And people kneeling, church bells ringing,
Their burdens etched upon the steps.

The ice is thick, but I hear him singing.
His voice meets me at the well,
Its rope is long, its bucket dripping,
A kingdom waiting down below.

The ice is thick, but I hear him singing.
My son meets me at the door,
Nods as though I’m dreaming,
Then bids a kind farewell.

Songs and Letters, December 13, 2005
Winter Poems, Cosmopsis Books, 2007


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Categories: Songs and Letters, Winter Poems

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