William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Childhood’

A Small Boy and Others

The language of Henry James in A Small Boy and Others is a softly spoken dream that gently begs the use of the reader’s own tongue. The dream is in color; it has no corners or edges or sides; it is more like the distance one travels between a robin’s breast and a fully ripe strawberry — the kind of journey a child makes many times each day — even […]

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Photosynthesis

When I see an ad that says Last chance! I know immediately it’s for something I don’t need. What I do need is to spend as much time outside as possible. Nature never stoops to such tricks. Her treasures are inexhaustible, and all are freely given. From birth, we are drawn to her. A child in her arms is a happy child. This is written, of course, from the perspective […]

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Wild Carrots

Seventeen years — hyacinths are there now, shaded by a rapidly growing volunteer cedar. My mother is gone. We live in her house.   Wild Carrots It just occurred to me that wild carrots have sprouted only once on the slope near the sidewalk in front of my mother’s house. That was about three years ago. My sons and I noticed them while working in the area. The roots were […]

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The King’s English

When I was about ten or twelve, I had a ten-gallon aquarium. In it were zebra fish, little darting neons, tetras, a sword fish, an angel fish, a scavenger, and a bright and very friendly silver dollar — these were their names, at least as I recall them. The angel fish and silver dollar were small when we brought them home, but they grew rapidly, the angel fish becoming stately […]

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Troonk and Hamph

Among other things, in his journal entry for May 25, 1852, Thoreau mentions hearing the first troonk of a bullfrog — a lovely word, although I have for years spelled the sound hamph — this based on my recurring basso profondo imitation of bullfrogs heard while drifting with my father in his twelve-foot aluminum boat down California’s Kings River, in that lazy stretch below the town of Reedley where it […]

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High and Low

A baby’s high chair so high his head’s in the clouds, and, to feed the dear angel, we must climb the nearest mountain through ice and snow with his tiny spoon in our hands — but why do we imagine such things? To explain, I suppose, the ice on our shoes, and the spikes and the ropes. A man’s thoughts so low we must sound the very depths of hell […]

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Main Street

I remember from my boyhood a man in the old hometown who had survived a tragic car accident, and whose face was disfigured beyond recognition, having been reconstructed by the doctors into a featureless, expressionless mask. In the barbershop one day, the first time I saw him, I watched from my place high in the third chair as he entered and exchanged friendly greetings with several men waiting who apparently […]

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His Own Clock Ticking

Expecting snow. Expecting rain. Expecting spring. Expecting soup. Expecting carrots. Expecting beans. Expecting love. Expecting death. Expecting wings.   His Own Clock Ticking A human aware of his own clock ticking, I give you the weather — as it relates to my own, which, having just bathed, is moist and warm and promising sun — a day begun precisely so, is all that matters, and must not be ignored. How […]

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Someday

All smiles late yesterday afternoon, our twelve-year-old grandson told me that earlier in the day he had looked me up on the internet — I googled you were the words he used. I said, You did? That’s funny, I didn’t feel anything — at the same time realizing that from this point on I would begin to seem a little different in his eyes, as this portion of my life […]

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