William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

First Publication

After the Fall

Why does the bird sing? Because it will? Because it must? Because it can? As the child is a poet, the child is a man. And the man goes out on a limb. Why does the man sing? To break, and to bend. To break . . . . . and to bend.

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Long Time Passing

My mother grew sweet alyssum in the bed by the porch. That is my childhood. There is more, of course. Her birthday on the Fourth. And the force that transformed us. Mind gone, her body a torch. Mine gone, to alyssum. And a smile that could be a rainbow, or door. A limb to sing from? A wind chime? A breeze? An arch?

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Now and Then

Or the time after the war my father walked the horse and plow several miles to the north side of town and another farm to do a job for two dollars — that plow there behind the house, surrounded by next year’s bluebells, if you can imagine them — or him, smiling at his good fortune and at the vineyard beyond — less one brother. Or just the other day, […]

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And You Will Be Blessed

Somewhere, in this very moment, there is a peach ripening, and somehow it will find you and drive you mad. And you will be blessed to forget the rest, everything you have thought, and done, and feared, and said. If this seems a riddle, it is. If you prefer strawberries, go right ahead. That is where joy comes in. It is like standing in a waterfall while receiving guests. Come […]

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Ink and Pen

How a bird about to sing, instinctively seeks the highest branch. How a bell about to ring, shivers at the hand. How a joy about to be, has always been.   How you are the bird, the song, the branch, the bell, The sound, the hand, the joy, The now, the when.   And how, and then, in one last breath, You put it down, and pick it up, and […]

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