William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Books’

A Larger Life

In his journal, around the year 1850, Thoreau writes of the gradual disappearance of wild apples, saddened by the realization that a generation hence, they would be virtually unknown in the land. They were planted anywhere it was thought they might survive — in odd corners, along roadsides, against walls — and left to fend for themselves — like us, it occurs to me now, a lesson in abundance and […]

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Word of Mouth

Earthquakes, volcanoes, and Man — Too much yeast, God said. “Judgment Day” Songs and Letters, April 25, 2008   Word of Mouth Someone who lives well west of us, in the first row of houses overlooking the river, said that the recent high water rose into her yard, but did not reach her house. When the water receded, it left behind all manner of filth from the homeless encampment that […]

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A Fairy Tale Pirate

In a sky so still, sparrows, like steam from a kettle, or arrows, that know where old gods go when they fly. “In a Sky So Still” Recently Banned Literature, May 20, 2014 Twelve Poems, Poets International   A Fairy Tale Pirate There is, these days, the habit of reading aloud the journal of Henry David Thoreau, which affords a better hearing of that extensive part of him which he […]

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The Day I Photographed Lincoln

Immersed as I have been in the humble, candid, beautifully written memoirs and letters of the great Civil War generals Grant and Sherman, it would be odd indeed if this old poem of mine did not come to mind. And then there is the biographical, historical masterwork by Carl Sandburg, the six-volume Abraham Lincoln, given us in two parts: the two-volume Prairie Years, and the four-volume War Years. Sandburg, born […]

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First Kiss

This has been a winter of books, and the kind of simple earthly pleasures that are priceless and free — a winter of clouds and ice and sun, of forest paths and waterfalls, of vanilla pages and chamomile grass and moss — a winter of Blake, Thoreau, and Don Quixote, of diaries and letters, and of all that lasts beyond its past and lights the present tense. And it’s not […]

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Winter Work

Book by book I go, dusting, cleaning, reading, examining, inhaling, arranging. A library is a strange, quiet joy. It is good fortune, and in these times, when ignorance is vaunted, heralded, and prized, it is a reminder that wisdom and sanity are still alive in the world. And then when the rain stops, I put on even older clothes and go out and prune the fig tree, which, over the […]

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Ancient Andy Lace and Heavy Metal Pews

Ancient Andy Lace — April 9, 2010

Speaking of past lives, it must be one of mine that brings Andy Lace to mind. As for “Heavy Metal Pews,” I stand willingly accused of variety. And I still have not cut my hair, even though there is time, or something that quaintly resembles it.     Heavy Metal Pews So, John, I hear you guys just finished a new CD. Tell me, how’d it go in the studio? […]

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Moving Books Around

Jonathan Swift 1812-1813

At the moment there’s scarcely room here to sit, leave alone exercise free movement of my elbows. And while this is only a slight exaggeration, I’d best make no sudden moves, or I might topple the tall stacks of books everywhere around me, as the room is in a state of turmoil brought on by my decision to add two more tall bookcases, despite the fact that there’s no obvious […]

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Almost the Same

If this is a book I’m putting together, it’s already the length of a short novel — this in the space of a little more than five months. As meaningless as things like these are, I find them quite interesting. My first novel, A Listening Thing, was written in ninety days. And if I remember correctly, my second novel, The Smiling Eyes of Children, was written in fifty-four. These are […]

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