William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Childhood’

The Hat Rack

My Uncle Before the War

After the grapes were all in and the raisins were picked up, boxed, and hauled away, my father’s attention turned to fall cleanup and house-painting chores. Always busy, everything in its right time and season. Oil-based, lead-based work. Paint thinner. Fumes. Open windows. Worried flies. The kitchen walls, the washroom — they stand out, as does the hat rack his older brother built before he was killed in the war. […]

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Slow Dance

And what of school? I remember our sturdy little desks in rows, bright, flat crayons, and how their taste resembled their smell, jars of glue, the heavy-paper mess, girls with long straight hair and curls, their fragrant dress, the playground, races, marble games and spinning tops, climbing bars and tractor tires stood up in the ground. And, not far off, in a cloud of dragonflies and dust, a country graveyard […]

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Robin Thoughts

Why did the robin take a vigorous bath yesterday, on a thirty-five-degree winter afternoon? Did he do it to spite the incoming snow? And where is he now? Near the ice-rimmed pool, watching the white-bright world from under the rhododendron, warm to his red in its bed of dry leaves? At two this morning, I was awakened by snow-light. Out walking before seven, I saw a boy in front of […]

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Blessings

From Songs and Letters, October 2, 2008

I shot a rabbit once, and have been bleeding ever since. I shot a bird, and now my wings are bent. I shot an arrow at the heavens, and my heart is where it went. I shot my childhood, and this strange long life it sent. I shot my life, and death told me what it meant. I shot my death, and now I sing, and now I dance.

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As I Recall

A few days ago, a red-tailed hawk swooped past the window and landed in the small bare maple opposite the front door. Not a very large bird, it was still too big for its chosen perch. With each move it made, it was poked and brushed by twigs. Finally it braved the maze and dropped to the ground. After investigating the muddy dahlia bed, it flew off across the driveway […]

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Sweet Kisses

Fifty years ago, when my father went to visit a farm neighbor dying of cancer, he heard him howling with pain the moment he entered our little hometown hospital. I was born in that hospital. When we were in high school, a close friend of mine died in that hospital. Three of our four children were born in that hospital. In that hospital, my appendix was removed. My wife worked […]

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Silence

Would I be a good public speaker? Even at my advanced age, I don’t know. I’ve never sought the opportunity, which might be a way of saying I’ve avoided it. And if I have avoided it, I’ve probably done so for the usual reasons: fear of failure, fear of making a fool of myself, fear of embarrassment. And if these are the reasons, they must have their origin somewhere in […]

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Winter Light and the Old Royal

Winter Light and the Old Royal

Somewhere in the house — I can only guess where — there’s a sturdy flat box meant to hold a ream of paper, with a patterned lid that fits neatly over the bottom portion; this box contains a long story I wrote for adults who are children, and for children who are adults — a sort of Huck Finn lightly fictionalized family history set on the farm where my father […]

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Rainbows and Windmills

I think I’ve already mentioned somewhere that I tend to forget poems almost as soon as they’re written. It’s interesting, because so many, like this one, are memory-driven, and each verse is its own childhood or family album.   Rainbows and Windmills Sometimes we leave with rainbows in our pockets, and sometimes we travel without them, knowing there are always rainbows about; and yet a crumpled rainbow is its own […]

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