William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Aging’

Five Crows, One Limb

How long has it been since I felt offended? I wonder. I really don’t know. Who, or what, is there to offend? Is there a noble concept of myself in danger of being toppled? Do I have a religious or philosophical point to argue, or a political position to defend? No. I am just a child in an old man’s body, up, in the morning, once again; up, to see […]

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Ask Yourself

At the rate I’m going, steady though it may be, it will take me several years to finish reading all fourteen volumes of Thoreau’s journal. I hope I have those years. But if I don’t, I’m happy to have had those leading up to them. And when I say hope, I mean I’m willing to live them if they’re given me, and that I understand very well they might not […]

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Ghost Frames

Late yesterday afternoon, a thunderstorm came to call. Naturally, I opened the door and let her in. One by one and all at once, she explored the dim gray rooms. And now, where she’s been is where I am, and where she is is where I will be, soon. Ghost frames, windows, walls. Leave them up, or take them down. Shake out the linen and the quilts. June 27, 2019

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The Sunlight on My Mother’s Face

Well before daylight, in the sublime quiet, reading the letters of a thoughtful young man who later lost his life in the Civil War at the age of twenty-nine: Charles Russell Lowell, nephew of the great writer and poet, James Russell Lowell. Then, suddenly, raindrops — so few in number it reminds me of my mother sprinkling water on her ironing. June 26, 2019   The Sunlight on My Mother’s […]

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You Think You Know Yourself

The assumption that it’s difficult is what makes it so. But then, so does any assumption at all.   You Think You Know Yourself You think you know yourself — then comes a word, a phrase, a night, a moon, an oak in rust on a time-worn hill, leaves, twigs, and cloud-debris, horseless riders faceless until they swing right in front of you — did you dream them or did […]

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The dry grass of my ambition has a beauty all its own.

All the more so with the fences down.

And the graveyard overgrown.

William Michaelian 1988

Portland, Oregon — December 1988

Before Me, the Past

Before me, the past speeds ahead.
It arrives, I know not when.

Behind me, the future is silent.
It knows that I am dead.

Pity, there is no grief in starlight.
Mercy, cries for the unborn.

Duty, is a failed science.
Love, walks alone.

You show me a sign.
A bright, fathomless smile.

As if there were, anything.
As if we were, real.

As if, rainbows give birth to children.
And they do: rainbows, and strawberries.

Fallen angels, white as any snowflake.
Black as an eye in a song.

Blue, as when light returns.
Green, because everything is so damn silly.

Honeyed as any flower.
Or as the scent and color of skin.

Intimate, as graveyard stone.
Whispers, with cold gray fingertips.

Wet shoes: where have I been?
And how did you find me?

A siren in a cityscape.
Moonlight, on a table.

Perhaps, or, simply, fate.
A wet sponge by the sink.

A leaf, a candle.
An unexpected need.

Poems, Slightly Used, November 21, 2010

1988 — Before Me, the Past

Wayside

If I were a bluebell, or a tree in the mist . . . and I am, when we meet like this. And when I’m ripe and ready to fall? What need of fear on my way to the ground? Indeed, what need, even now? April 22, 2019   Wayside There appeared on the cold winter road a butterfly, Which came to rest on my cane. The cane, feeling her […]

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Better Blind, Than Blind

If I am not grateful in the knowledge that I will die, and possibly suffer untold, nigh unbearable pain between now and that time, then of what worth is my gratitude for my relative good health, and for an abundance of fluffy clouds, fresh air, and sunshine? Can such conditional gratitude really be gratitude at all? And yet even that is a start, I suppose. If I am alive in […]

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Silence Best Describes the Circle

It’s been years since I’ve taken a pill of any kind. In my experience, pills, particularly those meant to lessen or drive away pain, create their own set of conditions and demands, until they finally cause more pain than suggested them in the first place, as well as other side effects. And so now, if I happen to hurt, I simply go on about my business. I do my work, […]

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Oaks Remember Poppies

A friendly neighbor out walking is glad to see us. After exchanging greetings, he reaches out as we pass, and almost touches my shoulder. Someday we might even know each other’s names, and then forget them when we’re older. And someday when it’s warmer, we will be colder.   Oaks Remember Poppies Sunflower sprouting in a paw-print. A pot on the step by the door. Oaks remember poppies. We forget […]

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