William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Birches’

In Simplest Terms

A little before four this morning, it was cloudy with only one star briefly visible; then, a few minutes later, between the birches and firs, through a break in the clouds just above the neighbor’s second-story roof, we caught a sustained glimpse of the full lunar eclipse, as the shadow passed and the moon began to emerge. Now there is a robin singing from the chimney-top. It comes to mind […]

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Inside and Out

It’s our very good fortune that every window of this house looks out on lush green growth: the maples, pine, and cedar; the birches and firs; the garden, vine, apricot, and blueberry; the juniper and the dense, tall arborvitae; the fig, the lilacs, the rhododendrons; the ferns, moss, grass, and volunteer oak and hazelnut seedlings; and in the distance, the trees of the neighborhood. Each view changes from hour to […]

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The First to Sneeze

A healthy body wants only what it needs. A healthy mind acts accordingly. The stars were still bright at four this morning. Even then I could hear robins singing up the street. No shoes or socks: I was listening with my feet. Red, purple, pink: three big barrels of geraniums, three plants in each. They join us at each meal. Being geraniums is an art: sometimes we are in the […]

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Suburban Sailor

It’s still too cold for a barefoot walk through the wet grass. And yet I’m tempted. Let it be a short walk, across the yard and back. Hands on one of the broad limbs of the fig tree, I listen to the neighbor’s firs creaking in the wind. Lines; grooves; the pigmentation of aged but youthful skin. It’s not that I’m afraid to let go; it’s the earth’s grounding force […]

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Wilderness Notes

While trees ravaged by the ice storm can be seen in every direction, there are a great many that have come through unscathed. The young cedar in our little wilderness is one, as is the juniper, which will soon break into bloom. The pine, the branches of which were so weighted with ice that they hung by its side, has resumed its airy, elegant form, with only one small broken […]

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Glass to Green

Street by street, power is being restored. Last night at nine o’clock, it was thirty-five degrees. This morning at three-thirty, it was forty-five. Yesterday morning, we viewed the destruction around town. The ice storm has closed roads, brought down wires, felled mighty oaks, split cedars, ravaged birches, and crushed cars and rooftops with mossy limbs. In the afternoon, the roar of chainsaws filled the air. They will be running for […]

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Crude Approximations

The little mimosa by the cedar has six leaves, a rich orange, leaning towards red. The tiny birch less than two feet away also has six — the top three are green, the fourth is yellow-green, and the two near the ground are yellow. The color references are crude approximations. Set in the wilderness as they are, among grasses, ground covers, mushrooms, and a scattering of needles, cones, and other […]

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Prune, Persimmon, Plum Bun

This afternoon I swept the walk, the driveway, and the moss-covered patio area behind the house, which was buried in dry, frosted birch leaves. Then I ate two dates, two prunes, a piece of dried mango, and a fresh ripe persimmon. Lately I have had to delete several telephone messages, in which were the recorded voices of people telling us in ignorant, angry tones how we should vote. One man […]

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Juncos, Seaweed, and Mold

Poor Helga Crane. I must confess, I did not expect that within its last thirty pages, Nella Larsen’s Quicksand would turn into an out-and-out tragedy. But that is exactly what it did, all seemingly the result of an ill-timed walk in the rain. Heartbreaking it was, to this reader at a distance of nearly a century, that even death would say, No, you have not suffered enough — heartbreaking especially […]

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Fall Postcard

The dogwood is a beautiful red this year. If I were to make myself invisible and walk up to it ever so slowly, and then give the tree a shake, birds would scatter in every direction, a fluttering eruption of bright grosbeaks and chickadees there for the seed. Then, seeing nothing, they would soon return, some from the cedar, some from the maple, some from the birch. And I would […]

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