William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Songs and Letters

Proverb 18

I was ankle-deep in organic composted dairy manure, shovel in hand, when the mailman stopped at the foot of the garden space and said with a smile, “I just realized you look exactly like Gandalf.” I pointed to the manure pile in the driveway and replied, “And this is the source of my magic.” Under the vine, then, under the apricot, under the blueberry. Under the sun, the moon, and […]

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Proverb 17

And what of the salamander we met on the trail, skin smooth, mud-colored, orange beneath, walking on its toes, crossing in the chilly damp? And what of the woodpecker knocking unseen from above? What of the massive cleft rock in the stream? Are we to think nothing of them and pretend their existence away? Or shall we carry them with us, and make ourselves living reminders that all is not […]

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The Juggler

Doing one thing at a time, doing it thoroughly, lovingly, and well, my thinking becomes less tangled. One thought doesn’t always lead to another. Often there’s a large space between it and the next. To me, what happens in that space, and the nature of that space itself, is more beautiful, vital, and important than anything I might accomplish by juggling away what’s left of the precious time that has […]

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Chairs

This morning, after watering the various plants and flowers, which are now taking on their fall tones, I continued my early morning celebration by soaping myself in cool water and rinsing with cold. It was a bit like bathing in a river and then standing under a waterfall. The shower space is small, but there is a skylight in the bathroom. Only in the dark days of winter do I […]

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The Annotated Proverbs of Hell

Once upon a time, a very long short time ago, I “annotated” William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. Written in 2007 during the months of November and December, my sixty-nine mostly odd, somewhat awkward, likely absurd poetic responses to the Proverbs comprise the entire sixteenth volume of Songs and Letters. The Proverbs are from the 1994 Dover edition of Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Here is the sixth: The […]

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Drought

Grass fires. Forest fires. Climate change. Drought. A neighbor decides he does not like his wise old fir. He cuts it down. Grinds the stump. Pours concrete. Complains about his electricity bill. June 21, 2021 . Drought Laughter in the well. Granddad, you come out of there. Buried him that very same year. Songs and Letters, January 30, 2009 . [ 1141 ]

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Under Our Hats

I found an ancient pair of worn out jeans and cut them off a little above the knee. I’m wearing them now. I wore them early this morning while working barefoot in the garden and watering our assorted plantings and pots. Dirt, water, sun — childhood. We bought half a crate of strawberries yesterday. They’re called “Ruby June.” For whatever lucky reason, I’ve had more close-up meetings with birds. As […]

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Light Cannot Pass

Power is restored — electricity has blown out the neighbor’s sweet wax candles. February 22, 2021 . Light Cannot Pass Light cannot pass between two hands clasped in prayer but it does wash over them and it runs down the arms and it drips from the elbows and it melts like wax on the floor. Songs and Letters, May 18, 2008 . [ 1029 ]

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Until We Meet

Maybe I should burn all of the others and keep this one. January 17, 2021 . Until We Meet What if we think of words as bells, each with a sound that’s just arrived from a great distance — across fields, down mountains, over graveyards, swept along alleys and streets, and of we who ring them as angels without names? Songs and Letters, September 24, 2008 . [ 998 ]

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