William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Everything and Nothing

The Art of the Cumulative

Minding the details, relishing them, staying with them day after day through the years — we might call this the art of the cumulative. The ground behind the house is deep in yellow birch leaves. Here and there, they are suspended in spider webs under the eaves; some dangle from a single thread and twist and turn in the breeze. The fig tree, too, is yellowing. An hour ago, I […]

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Wings

Seen successive evenings at dusk: two great blue herons, streaking home toward the Claggett Creek wetland, as distinct and as similar as two different thoughts. And where were they, I wonder, before their last flight of day — the outcome of whose life, arisen in whose brain? Both evenings were clear. But now clouds have moved in and the atmosphere has changed. Will this lead to a change of thoughts? And […]

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Rhythm and Rhyme

The sunflowers are still standing. Most of the seeds are gone, and most of the leaves. And yet there is still a small lateral bloom here and there, way up high, as if, in their kindly old age, the plants are still thinking of the bees. The bees themselves are few. Those I have seen seem both busy and confused — busy about the world’s end; busy about the sky, […]

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Death’s Divine Music

To awaken, as Thoreau once did from a dream, to find oneself a musical instrument, with the last notes dying away. To say, I was borne this day unto death’s divine music, and then pass in a canoe over the brink of a waterfall, only to find, upon landing, that the canoe has become a cabin in the woods and the waterfall a gentle rain on the roof. And now […]

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The Next Room

Frost. Yesterday at about eight in the evening, the Big Dipper was sitting almost flat on a stove in the north, and was being warmed by shadowy treetop flames. This morning at six it was leaning against the wall to the right of the stove, balancing on its handle. By its position, one could tell that the kitchen has a high ceiling, and that the next room is several light […]

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Understandable

We live in a world inhabited by giant sequoias thousands of years old. This is true wealth. If I had not grown up near them, visited them, gazed upon them, put my hands on them, and taken their very breath deep into my lungs, I would not be this person; I would be someone else. Yes, we can, and should, say this of all living things, great or small. We […]

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A Warm Muffin and a Fresh Ripe Orange

The weather turns cold, and here I am with my books again — the book of fallen leaves, and of the cloudless night and bright moon — the book of wordless days, and of the failing light in my work room — and glad I am, love, you will be home soon. October 9, 2019   A Warm Muffin and a Fresh Ripe Orange Imagine loving silence and solitude so […]

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Afternoon Nap

You love this mirage, this idea of yourself looking out on the world, when, all the while, the world is within you. And you love the sanctity of what you imagine is your private space, when that same space is outside you. And if what is outside is in, and what is inside is out, where are you, and what are you? Just what becomes of the who of you? […]

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Ladybug Light

We have never seen such a wealth of mushrooms. The entire neighborhood is covered with them. They have sprung up along borders, beneath hedges; they have erupted in flower pots and lawns; they crowd the sidewalks like bubbles on the rim of a glass. At the same time, as if to reveal their darker side, the older ones have already begun to rot. At a glance they look like stranded […]

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Fall Questions

Is it confidence, or arrogance? If we are honest with ourselves and with others, if we are doing our best at whatever our work happens to be at the moment, if we are grateful and attentive and enjoying the health that sacred, lucky combination brings, why would we also need to feel confident, as if we hold, or are seeking, some advantage? Is it because confidence is universally praised, and […]

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