William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Recently Banned Literature

In Light Of

Someone says the bright new mushrooms shine like lanterns by the walk. . . . the moon?   In Light Of Twenty-six degrees this morning. I wonder what I would do if I were a star? Shine like the rest of them, I suppose. And perhaps be gone by the time my light is seen in this faraway world. Lantern is a word I love. I wonder how old I […]

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At the End of a Wooden Handle

If man were meant to fly, he would have been given wings. And then the teacher died, never quite imagining. Dear old, poor old soul — and so they buried him in poetry.   At the End of a Wooden Handle This glorious day, right where you find it, at the end of a wooden handle, (picture a tool no one understands or remembers how to use) part butterfly part […]

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All Ye Who Enter

In 1851, in a journal entry written in late-September, Thoreau writes in its own separate paragraph the following sentence: The poet writes the history of his body. This statement, or observation, occurs seemingly out of the blue, between references to the growth pattern of pine trees and the tendency of a certain kind of grass to burn slowly and steadily without flame. In Part 2 of Clarel, his 18,000-line poem […]

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Hoh Rain Forest

Hoh Rain Forest

Rain, in such volume, with such force, and the cedar, unperturbed, a solemn drinker at closing time — yes, what is wisdom worth in this leaky house of mine? September 18, 2019 Hoh Rain Forest July 20, 2010 One saw swans back then. Another, fingers, hands. I saw faces. I see them again.

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Burning Candle

Burning Candle — March 5, 2010

Lunch. I’d just fallen asleep on the floor in the back room when I heard a strange noise — the sound of a hanger, perhaps, falling for no reason from the wooden rod in the closet and banging against a bracket on the way down, or of a penny committing suicide by throwing itself into an old cider jar half full of its tragically expired brethren. Awake for the nonce, […]

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If this is the letter O,
I can only wonder about the rest of the alphabet,
and what brings on these spells.

The Letter O — August 26, 2019

The Letter O — August 26, 2019

In a Vast White Space

A little boy, with a little apple and sticky hands,
busy the spirits about him, busy the wind,
many the voices, solemn, joyous,

in a vast white space,
written in plain white words,
a white ball chased by a wide white hound,

an alphabet of snow,

and you, with your funny little arrows,
ink-tipped, turned upon yourself,

in a vast white space, an apple,
turning red.

Recently Banned Literature, June 2, 2014

(written on the nineteenth anniversary of my father’s death)

The Letter O — In a Vast White Space

Or Should I Say

The strawberries are blooming again. During the past few weeks, with my encouragement and approval, they have sent runners in every direction. Joint by joint, new plants are tacking themselves to whatever bare ground they can find. And where they are growing over rocks, they are rooting in the gaps in between. The secret? Water, along with the understanding that every inch of this wise old earth is a sacred […]

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Canvas 298 — August 21, 2013

Canvas 298 — August 21, 2013

More Than Anything

Love does not say, “See the bad man.”
Love says, “Come, let us find the good in ourselves.”

Love does not heap shame on those who are lost.
Love remains near, that they may be found.

Love does not say, “This one, but not this one.”
Love says, “In good time, all.”

Love does not wait with a flag at the wall.
Love is a lantern in your heart, filled with starlight.

Love does not say, “Peace is a dream.”
Love says, “Love, more than anything.”

Recently Banned Literature, November 22, 2016
Essays and Collections, November 2016: Poems and Passages

Canvas 298 — More Than Anything