William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Butterflies’

How You Bury a Butterfly

Imagine a future museum that preserves the furniture of today — the overstuffed chairs, the massive sofas, the acre-wide, bottomless, bloated beds — and its lean and agile visitors looking on wide-eyed, shaking their heads. Why did they torture themselves? How did they live that way? High in the mountain wilderness, John Muir would use the scented branches of conifers to make a bed for the night. The crystal waters […]

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How Your Speech

After some time away, I’ve drifted back into Emerson’s journal, where, after reading for a while today, I found myself on Page 590 of the first volume of the two-volume Library of America edition. This time around, the searching sweetness of his observations makes me feel like a butterfly or hummingbird; his hesitations, confessions, and insights are flowers. It’s a springtime, summertime reading. Our grapes are in bloom. After losing […]

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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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Butterflies and Bee Toes

Am I being vague? I don’t mean to be. I love words. And they love me. We’re naturally hesitant, wondering, each time we meet, who will be the first to speak. What should we mean? We aren’t nails hammered through wood. We’re more like butterflies, or bees with pollen on our toes. Documents? Manifestos? We laugh. We can’t all be bibles or epitaphs. Some of us must be free. Recently […]

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A Dance of Light and a Shiver Through

A few years ago we brought home a stained-glass birdbath to hang in the backyard. It’s shallow and about the size of a small dinner plate, and though it has since become somewhat discolored, it’s still pretty with the light shining through it and onto the ivy below. I keep it full and fresh through the warm part of the year, then take it down late in the fall. Whenever […]

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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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And Here I Sit Without a Flower

On the road, the notion of time evaporates so quickly, I have to stop and think to know what day it is, and even then I’m not quite sure. A minute, mile, or hour farther on, the fact is gone again, along with its meaning and its need. We left on Monday. That much I know. But I hardly prize the information. If today is Thursday, the name is the […]

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Blueberries Two

We’ve heard a number of times that a solitary blueberry bush won’t produce fruit on its own, that at least one other must be growing and blooming nearby to ensure pollination. And yet we have one plant and it produces fruit, and the nearest others that we’re aware of are hundreds of feet away at a house one street to the south and two houses to the west, with structures, […]

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