William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Everything and Nothing

Time Out

Instead of walking early this morning, I spent an hour and a half watering and tending the garden. It takes time to visit everyone, to top a dahlia here, touch a dewdrop on a maple sprout there, pick a pint of strawberries, count the Agapanthus blooms, marvel at the number of new cones high up in the firs, admire the smooth stones in the shade garden — but of course […]

Continue Reading →

And the Answer Is

Rain, enough to thrill the garden, but not to silence the scent of the grass seed fields. The delicate maples, red and green. The same towhee, in the same tree, sure each sentence must end differently. Flicker with an earth-brown beak, probing, searching, finding, swallowing. Little boy with a wet new bike, testing its frame against the curb, feeling the vibration in his bones. Funny how some words end up […]

Continue Reading →

We Are Our Own Lens

In light of the sheer immensity of things, any endeavor, however well executed, is bound to seem trivial and small. We write poems, build bridges, send rockets to the moon; yet within this vast expanse, the page is small, the earth is small, the moon is small, the galaxy is small. How powerful, really, would a universal lens have to be to even show we are here? One partial answer […]

Continue Reading →

Pale Wisps and Blossom Clouds

This spring, everything that blooms has bloomed heavily, in scented blossom clouds. Last spring it was the opposite, a sparse bloom in pale wisps, like an invalid’s dry cough, or a storm that disperses before it arrives. It rained again last night. At six this morning, the trees were dripping in the bright sunlight. At the top of the hill, even the old one-sided maple looked like it was in […]

Continue Reading →

Wilderness Areas

In a space I can traverse in two or three steps, an ant or other creature of similar or lesser size can revel and burrow for days — can pass whole lifetimes and seasons, if the space is left undisturbed. This is why, around the house, I’ve established wilderness areas. Passersby, if they notice them, might see them as weed patches or dandelion infestations. But the miracles that unfold there […]

Continue Reading →

No Pride or Noble Crowns

There’s the familiar saying, If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. To me, just the opposite seems true. When I’m attentive, I’m not angry, I’m aware. And when I’m aware, the root of the problem is revealed. When I say attentive, I don’t mean with such and such a motive or purpose, or desire for a particular outcome; that isn’t attention, but a subtle form of self-glorification, the ego’s […]

Continue Reading →

Photosynthesis

When I see an ad that says Last chance! I know immediately it’s for something I don’t need. What I do need is to spend as much time outside as possible. Nature never stoops to such tricks. Her treasures are inexhaustible, and all are freely given. From birth, we are drawn to her. A child in her arms is a happy child. This is written, of course, from the perspective […]

Continue Reading →

Letters

Late each evening, the male towhee comes out from the rhododendron for one last look at the world and a little something to eat before bed. He is done singing for the day, and still mindful of the nest. Under the lilac, he finds something that intrigues him in the moss, and starts scratching like a chicken. The motion propels him forward several inches, then he hops back and pecks […]

Continue Reading →

The Man Who Lost His Head

The Man Who Lost His Head Notebook Illustration I’m Telling You All I Know June 1, 2009   “When our kids were small, my wife and I used to read them a delightful book from the library called The Man Who Lost His Head. Published in 1942, the story was written by Claire Huchet Bishop and masterfully illustrated by Robert McCloskey. It’s about a man who has lost his head, […]

Continue Reading →

These Eyes

The Man Who Lost His Head

Reckoning from the year 1776, this country is two hundred and forty-four years old. I have lived sixty-four of those years, roughly a quarter of that span. Reading the relatively brief history of this land, how can I not be stunned and saddened by the magnitude of the slaughter, theft, exploitation, and waste that marks each stage of its development? Certainly I am not surprised to find the country as […]

Continue Reading →