William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

The Sunlight on My Mother’s Face

Well before daylight, in the sublime quiet, reading the letters of a thoughtful young man who later lost his life in the Civil War at the age of twenty-nine: Charles Russell Lowell, nephew of the great writer and poet, James Russell Lowell. Then, suddenly, raindrops — so few in number it reminds me of my mother sprinkling water on her ironing. June 26, 2019   The Sunlight on My Mother’s […]

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Genesis, 1962

My father always said that no one taught him to swim, that he simply jumped into the wide mossy ditch with all the other boys and learned then and there on his own. He did not say he had already learned by watching, while dancing naked with glee on the bank in the hot summer sun. Some of the same vineyards that were there in his childhood were there in […]

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Of Lives and Letters

The Life and Letters of John Muir

All too often, those of us who call ourselves writers speak of the books we read as if their very mention were an indication of our learning, depth, and worth. I speak about them because I love them, knowing full well that even after they are read, I will be at a loss to explain the profound or mean effect they have had on me, my understanding, and my thinking. […]

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You Think You Know Yourself

The assumption that it’s difficult is what makes it so. But then, so does any assumption at all.   You Think You Know Yourself You think you know yourself — then comes a word, a phrase, a night, a moon, an oak in rust on a time-worn hill, leaves, twigs, and cloud-debris, horseless riders faceless until they swing right in front of you — did you dream them or did […]

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If It’s a Heart You’re Looking For

My secret today is a passage I read very early this morning. Or is it the moon, a day past full, that lit the dark night of your longing? June 19, 2019   If It’s a Heart You’re Looking For If it’s a heart you’re looking for, the child cried, take mine. I’ll grow another, and a better, and a bigger. Then the child died. And the child’s words came […]

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Still and Again

The towhees around our house are quite friendly. Not only do they not avoid me, some seem downright eager for conversation. Within just a few feet, they stop and look at me, then hop about in the ferns and moss and rhododendrons without wariness or alarm. Late in the afternoon two days ago, while I was watering the hostas not far from the birdbath, a male with beautiful markings alternated […]

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July Rain

The art of making it rain, I learned from my father. That I am here to explain, I learned from my mother.   July Rain Dying is such old work — I settle the dust in our yard with a hose. Poems, Slightly Used, July 5, 2009

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