William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Birches’

A Happening

The morning began with a robin leading the way, From birch, to maple, to fig, invisible to me, singing, My favorite tree! My favorite tree! My favorite tree! Or so it seemed as I ran in the calm and misty dark, So it seemed, so it seemed, so it seemed, Each of us a playful happening, Like every leaf and star. . [ 1450 ]

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For Your Own Sake

Men seek wisdom, sunflower sprouts spring from the warming soil. * Rich or poor, for your own sake, ask yourself what you would do if money weren’t a concern. * Love is the sound the shovel makes. * Birch clock: the dead branch, the singing bird. * Cedar clock: the low branch, the rope swing. * Old or young, ask yourself what you would do if time weren’t a concern. […]

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Life, Death, Fall

This morning I finished Edward O. Wilson’s Naturalist. After lunch I read in Emerson’s journal about the death of his little boy, Waldo. Two months ago, I ordered Library of America’s forthcoming two-volume edition, Molière: The Complete Richard Wilbur Translations. Today I removed the plants from the pots, barrels, and planters behind the house. I also cleared the gutters, which were full to the brim with birch leaves and fir […]

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My Trust, My Hand

Cedar, juniper, green maple, red maple, pine. Arborvitae, crape myrtle, rhododendron, barberry, apricot. Blueberry, grape, fig, birch, fir. Grasses. Such, in varying numbers, constitute the perennials on this relatively average-sized suburban lot. Hosta, fern, moss. Lilac. Ivy. Rose. To arrive at a complete list, one would need to comb the area with notebook in hand, to look carefully, see calmly, patiently, making it the work of a lifetime, his own […]

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You Will Forgive Me

Maybe I have changed. Clearing the downspouts of birch leaves in a light rain at fifty-three degrees while wearing shorts and short sleeves and being barefoot is something I have never done before. That I felt warm and completely comfortable while doing it is, I think, as good a sign as the early fall rain, which is drenching everything in fine winter style. Fifty-three, of course, is not cold. The […]

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In So Many Words

Another nuthatch visit. This time, while I was filling the birdbath, one came down from the birch tree and landed on the edge, within two feet of where I was standing. Was the drink it took meant to satisfy it, or me? Both — and the water itself. There is no such thing as a foreign language in this musical world. September 9, 2021 . [ 1224 ]

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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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