William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Canvas 534 — The Power of Decency

Canvas 534 — February 6, 2015

The good in these pages has come at a price. The bad is the price. Both are dust. Both are feathers. Both are light on the wind. February 6, 2020   The Power of Decency I look at myself, my rapidly aging body, my limited range of ability, and ask, What, really, is within my power? And the answer is, Decency. At home, online, or in the grocery store, I […]

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Give Us This Day

At the table — linen napkins, fine crystal — flesh to recall cave times. Dancing lambs in a sunny field — mothers cry to daffodils. Home from the war — in a coffin — in the night — whippoorwills.   Give Us This Day The house on the hill has a song behind its door each morning someone lets it out out of kindness the song flaps up to the […]

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Chorus

More than anything, it seems I write in terms of surprise — that yesterday was not my last chance, or this morning, or an hour ago — that I am here at all — that I am still here, that I ever was here, without really knowing what here is, or why, or how. And it might well be that this condition, this outlook — this disease if you prefer […]

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Wealth

It took the whole day yesterday to change — one word. What patience they both had! — and not a shred of jealousy. You first — It’s not my turn — Are you sure? I held the door — the train — left — the station. How lonely the platform! — the night — concurred. February 4, 2020   Wealth n. so little there’s nothing left that wasn’t here before […]

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Visions of Spring

Dear crocus, sleeping in the morn — laughing later in the storm — my time to preach is past, but not my time to learn — or why — on earth — be born?   Visions of Spring Our battered house tugs at its anchor in a sea of mud. In the galley, there are potatoes with bulging eyes, onions with hair, dwindling lumps of cheese and bread. From the […]

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Something Someone

Noted on the next-to-last day of January, early in the evening after dark: the first spring chorus of frogs, rising from the rain-replenished Claggett Creek wetland. The next morning, a very strong southerly flow, upon it riding the deeper-further-farther river smell — and the welling sense of something else: the awakening multitude. Blooming by the wayside near the graveyard something someone softly said January 31, 2020

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If I Say Love

The sky, a tree, a rose, a fish, a flower — but what holds it all together? If I say love, will you smile? — You, a woven galaxy of nerves? You, with your suppleness and warmth, and the science of your eyes? Never mind what the Greeks said, or Darwin, or Shakespeare. Open wide your gates. Shed your raiment. Put down your shield. Behold our trembling flesh. Is it […]

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Death Treads Softly

For every heart-breaker, there is a love-maker; for every flower, an hour — a death, a life.   Death Treads Softly Death treads softly past the nurse reading at her desk. When morning comes, another bed is empty. Winter is long, the old folks let go one by one. We strip their sheets and scrub the floors, send their bundles to the laundry. But the ones who live are hungry. […]

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