William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Books’

A Rose and Other Matters

If you sit alone in a room long enough, and if you do so year after year until you’re so old or so young you don’t know what or who are where you are, you can rest assured of at least one thing: you’ve put in a good day’s work. . A Rose and Other Matters I’m tempted to move the book with the picture of André Malraux on the […]

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A Letter to the Girls

The great naturalist, Edward O. Wilson, has died. But the world has not lost him, as the common phrase goes. He lives on his books, in his colleagues, and in the countless people he has influenced and taught. He lives on in the environment and ecosystems he helped and is still helping to save. It is not necessary to meet and know someone personally to benefit from his or her […]

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The Old City

If I am correct about the year, I first read Dostoevsky in 1984, on an airplane bound for Israel and the old city of Jerusalem. I had bought a paperback copy of The Brothers Karamazov, not quite aware at the time that I was beginning at the end, with what is considered the great writer’s crowning achievement. I read for several hours from Los Angeles to New York, and then […]

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O Holy Night

the sweet call to rest / the bare lilac / the mossy wall / the cedar chest December 23, 2021 . O Holy Night I do love the short days, the early closing in of the dark, the long nights beginning in the afternoon, the afternoons even earlier on the rooftops through the firs. There is so much light in everything everywhere I turn, in objects, faces, and books, the […]

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It’s Still a Long Walk to Christmas

It really is a walk. Not a race, as many have come to believe. December 18, 2021 . It’s Still a Long Walk to Christmas I’m hidden away from holiday visitors, egg from plates wiped clean, crumbs up from counter brushed with efficient palm, frying pan still warm and slick upon the stove, potato peels filed away, scent of navel orange, morning paper rearranged according to topics best ignored. Outside, […]

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Peacefully Ignorant

Tiny towns and crossings on the west side of the river: Amity, Hopewell, Eola. Lincoln. Zena. Bethel. On this side: St. Louis, Brooks, Mt. Angel, Bethany. Churches. Barns. Cemeteries. Oaks, firs, winding roads that give way to gravel. Smoke from fireplaces and stoves. Deer. Wild blackberries. When was the last time I wanted something I didn’t really need? It must be the forthcoming Richard Wilbur translations of Molière. And the […]

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Chairs

This morning, after watering the various plants and flowers, which are now taking on their fall tones, I continued my early morning celebration by soaping myself in cool water and rinsing with cold. It was a bit like bathing in a river and then standing under a waterfall. The shower space is small, but there is a skylight in the bathroom. Only in the dark days of winter do I […]

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The Annotated Proverbs of Hell

Once upon a time, a very long short time ago, I “annotated” William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. Written in 2007 during the months of November and December, my sixty-nine mostly odd, somewhat awkward, likely absurd poetic responses to the Proverbs comprise the entire sixteenth volume of Songs and Letters. The Proverbs are from the 1994 Dover edition of Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Here is the sixth: The […]

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Standing and Crawling

I am on my feet; the laptop is resting on four sleeved volumes — two containing the work of Nora Zeale Hurston, and the others, nine novels from the Harlem Renaissance. The left side of the computer is above and partly hides my old Royal typewriter. To the right, The Life of Langston Hughes. Behind them, Plutarch’s Lives. Behind them, the complete writings of Robert Browning. And behind all that, […]

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With Or Without Us

Three vultures atop a dead tree at the edge of Goose Lake. The water has receded; the surface is crowded again with lilies. Around the edge, a dense colony of Sagittaria latifolia, the potato-like tubers of which, according to Lewis and Clark, were prized by the natives and filled their canoes during their watery harvest. Wapato. In bloom and attracting bees on the main trail, the fuzzy pink spikes of […]

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