William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

From Wing to Wonder

The dragonflies are out again. Yesterday two landed on stakes in the dahlia bed to sun themselves. Each, after resting for several seconds, would lift off, hover briefly, then land again. They did this three or four times, until one finally decided to change stakes, flying up near my face before landing. The dragonflies were small and of a reddish color. As easy as it would be to find out, I know almost nothing about them, how long they live, how they survive the winters. And yet as I think about it, I must, at one time or another, have taken the trouble to read about them. I might even have looked them up in our set of Funk & Wagnalls during grade school. Such is knowledge — hearty, yet delicate, like dragonflies. And even without books, perhaps even especially without books, what can be learned through patient observation is inexhaustible. The same is true of a steady gaze turned inward. What is taking place must be studied first hand if it is to be appreciated and understood. And to be a true inquiry, open to all possibility, the study must be unfiltered, nonjudgmental, free of belief and opinion. If it is undertaken in the expectation of, or with the desire for, certain results, it can become an exercise in self-delusion or idle speculation. This can be entertaining, even comforting, for a time. One can even come to the conclusion that he is a failure, or that he was born to become a great teacher or spiritual leader. From there he can easily forget that the energy coursing through him is the same that animates the wings of dragonflies. He can forget, in fact, that he and the dragonfly are each other, and that both are also waterfalls, trees, and clouds. In short, he makes himself the answer to an easily solved problem in third grade division. He dips his cup in the ocean, then wonders where the waves have gone.

June 7, 2021


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Categories: New Poems & Pieces

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