William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Birches’

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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Naked in the Realm

The air was so fresh and clean yesterday, so perfectly scented with subtle fall fragrance, the edges of the clouds so beautifully crisp and defined, that one would think there had never been a fire in Oregon, or that nearby there are fires burning still. And now, borne by the southwest wind, rain approaches. In the afternoon I took out our tired old tomato plants; the cherry tomatoes, though, I […]

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Fire Line

The coming of autumn: the first yellow birch leaves, And a park bench that looks like an old upright piano, Which she plays quite naked, save for the wind in her hair And a bright necklace of newly sprouted mushrooms. She laughs: I’m only a painting! Yes. But I can’t help myself. I see it all here. Is there something special you’d like me to play? Anything. Anything. And then […]

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Morning Exercise

Morning Exercise — July 7, 2020

This drawing reminds me of something that happened a few days ago. While I was watering the flowers in one of our wine barrels, two tiger swallowtails fluttered past me from behind, just above my left shoulder. I fluttered after them. Up over the fig tree we went, past the birch, and into the neighbor’s yard. We were halfway down the street when I remembered I couldn’t fly. I turned […]

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I Go Sparkling

I know someone who has a beautiful garden, with a barn, a path, many squirrels, and a broom. In the garden, she moves rocks around. And the rocks respond: they summon light and shade, night, rain, snow; and they hold each beyond the winking lives of them. I do the same with small smooth river stones. Today, near our jade plants, at the east end of the flowerbed by the […]

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Low Tide

It’s easy to say, I want the best for everyone and everything, but it’s quite plain to me I don’t know what that best is. Lovely birch — her paper bark — no need for a pen today. [ 728 ]

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The Trick

It’s a wonderful occupation, this search for the ordinary, knowing it can never be found. Sixteen days have passed since I noticed a fallen birch leaf riding piggyback on a fig leaf still attached to the tree. The fig leaf is yellower now and with pronounced reddish veins. And the birch leaf, having lost most of its color and diminished in size, remains right where it was. November 6, 2019 […]

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