William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

New Poems & Pieces

May Day

I’m still reading Vincent’s letters, and will be for quite some time. I continue with Thoreau’s journal, a fourteen-volume project. I’m about fifty pages into William Wetmore Story and His Friends, from Letters, Diaries, and Recollections, by Henry James, published in two volumes in 1904. I’ve begun the Library of America edition of John Muir’s nature writings. And I’ve just finished at Home with Disquiet, a wonderful new collection of […]

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A Mighty Wind Is

Yesterday evening, I learned something: to finish reading The Letters of Henry Adams is to want to read his books all over again; and it is to want to read the lives and letters of his friends. April 7, 2020   A Mighty Wind Is A mighty wind is thrashing the firs. Yesterday, the crows were busy gathering wood for their nests. When the wind dies down, they will resume. […]

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x Frames

When I see birds chase each other through the maze of the budding fig tree without so much as touching a twig, I realize how quickly they must be processing the visual information given them by their eyes. If I view the scene at x frames per second, they must be viewing it at x frames a great many times over; it is this, perhaps, that makes them wise. Perhaps, […]

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One More Cherry Blossom Poem

Death, or politics? Politics have neither death’s dignity nor purpose; and they lack death’s sublime, optimistic future; for after death, that which is once said to have been living, goes on living in myriad forms and ways; whereas politics are an accumulation of toxic waste matter that is dangerous to all living things. That politics often cause death, is reason enough to set them aside. Why sacrifice my precious energy […]

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Moved

The breeze — her hair — held pink-white snow. She knew her lines and said them well. Now her leaves hide not her nakedness. And she — so kind — that I — should know. April 4, 2020 [ 716 ]

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Vincent to Theo, Letter 133, July 1880

. . . What shall I say? Do our inner thoughts ever show outwardly? There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke coming through the chimney, and go along their way . . . Primitive, Pencil on Index Card, 2009 Even at this distance / how we are alone / […]

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Someone

When the morning sun reveals every grain of dust on my desk, and papers, and books, I see oxen and stars. Random Note, April 1, 2010   Someone Someone sewing masks. Someone dropping bombs. Someone preaching hatred. Someone washing hands. Someone lights a candle. Someone whispers love. [ 713 ]

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Vigil

A day for tea. Not one cup, or two, but three. A trinity. Prophecy? Too, it well may be. An acute form of language, Or memory. Imagined, or worse. A blessing, a curse. A death, a truth, a fiction. A doorway. A wise oak. Surrender. Confession. Birth. March 31, 2020 [ 712 ]

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