William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Death’

Solstice

The pandemic has claimed the life of our neighbor. She was a kindhearted widow, eighty-two years old. The day after visiting her on Thanksgiving, her son died from the same cause. Yesterday evening, Saturn and Jupiter were hidden by fast-moving clouds. December 22, 2020 . Solstice The longest day is the shortest somewhere else a ripe plum fallen in decay half hidden by dead leaves and the promises they made […]

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Please Stay

A warm steady rain. The dust all washed away, the tea made, the earth peeled and set out upon a plate, this world is the perfect meal for every child who comes to play. “Please stay.”             But they do not. Nor can we. She folds the cloth. Sets the seal. Ends the day. December 20, 2020 . [ 962 ]

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A Fair Beginning

On my deathbed, deep in the heart of age, I would be blessed to hear a voice say, You have made a fair beginning. And if there were no voice, another sign — wind along the eaves, or hummingbird befriend me. Should I hear it twice, I would not know my name; a third time, maybe — given to a tree outside, or a tiny newborn baby. December 12, 2020. […]

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Old Man Winter

Should I fall asleep and never waken — but what if that has already happened, and this life I have lived, and am living still, is but an instant of the dreamy outcome? . Old Man Winter Daylight spilling from his tattered sack takes all night to reach the ground. I’m a penny on a railroad track. Choo-choo. Choo-choo-chooooooo. Poems, Slightly Used, November 26, 2010 . [ 952 ]

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Knowing and Not Knowing

While reading Emerson’s journal this morning, I came to a one-line entry of such a painful, personal nature that even now, almost two hundred years after it was written, I feel I have invaded the poor man’s privacy. Yet I am glad I read it. Had I been the editor, I would have thought long and hard about including it, but I am sure I would have done so — […]

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Echoes

My first paying job away from the farm was picking grapes on the neighbor’s place immediately west of ours. I was twelve. I worked with the neighbor’s double-jointed son, who was the same age. We did that for two seasons. It was hot, dirty, and dangerous. The danger was from two sources: black widow spiders and yellow jackets. One year, in the space of three days, I killed thirty-four black […]

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Thirty-One Hath October

It was good to see the little row of pumpkins leading to the front door of our daughter’s house, one for each member of the family. In the cool, misty morning, without touching them, I knew exactly what they would feel like, their deep grooves, their dry, rugged stems, their warts and lumps. And I thought, ever so briefly, of what it might be like to be a pumpkin whisperer, […]

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Field Day

On a misty June morning in 1853, Thoreau almost literally stumbled on a giant mushroom or toadstool, a fungus of massive proportions which he likened to an umbrella or parasol. It was sixteen inches tall, about seven inches across at the top, with a trunk about an inch in diameter. To his surprise, he found it growing on an exposed hillside. He took it with him to town, careful to […]

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Juncos, Seaweed, and Mold

Poor Helga Crane. I must confess, I did not expect that within its last thirty pages, Nella Larsen’s Quicksand would turn into an out-and-out tragedy. But that is exactly what it did, all seemingly the result of an ill-timed walk in the rain. Heartbreaking it was, to this reader at a distance of nearly a century, that even death would say, No, you have not suffered enough — heartbreaking especially […]

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The Horizontal Life

Here in the time of yellowing maples and drifting leaves, the falls and streams are charged with new life by the recent thunderstorms. Numerous spiderwebs cross the path, so fine that one is not aware of them until they are broken in passing through; removed from around the forehead and eyes, parts still cling; or maybe it is the memory of their touch that has not quite died away. At […]

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