William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Haibun’

Yield

It seemed almost rude last night to close the front door while a cricket was singing just outside. And yet a short while later, ready for sleep, I could still hear it, steady and measured, through the adjacent bedroom window. In less than a minute, I could no longer distinguish my heartbeat and breath from its rhythm and song. And I thought, the first and last word in all human […]

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Bees and Berries

Goose Lake is still choked with lilies, but here and there a small patch of water is now visible. The muck slowly recedes, but there’s no shore, no place to put in a canoe, or to cast a line. By all signs, it won’t be that kind of summer. A fallen cottonwood branch lies across the part of the path that leads to the only other place of easy access […]

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Wool Socks and a Walking Stick

There are days when thoughts are snowflakes that melt when they land, and I watch while they’re absorbed by the moss and leaves and debris on the path. I don’t worry after them. Nothing’s gained, nothing’s lost. They’re a natural part of the landscape, down from the clouds, returned to their roots. And summer herself is kind to them, like a favorite old aunt. Little children with no clothes — […]

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Don’t Fly Away

It’s summer, and a path is worn from the front door, through the clover, past the shade garden — that quiet harbor of ferns and moss — beneath the pine branch that makes us duck, to the grapevine, apricot, and blueberry bush. And if that does not seem like much, beware, my friend, observe: for that is how paradise is lost. Dragonfly with one wing gone, swarm of ants bright-red […]

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Gandalf

In the parking lot, just as we were setting out on our hike, a young woman said to me, “You look like Gandalf. All you need is the staff.” Her friends all smiled. And when I said, “I’ve heard that before,” they all laughed, and smiled some more. At the falls I thought, How can we not be friends? And the ferns bowed their heads.

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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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Ancient Blue

Year by year, the neighbor’s irises have crept like a floral glacier across the narrow path I maintain between his yard and our garden. This spring, they were so heavy with blooms, I had to prop them up to keep them from smothering our young tomato plants. It was a beautiful sight — so beautiful that sometime in July, if I am still living, I will dig and divide those […]

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Heaven

When I cut off the old fronds of the ferns, mold is my reward. Later, I celebrate with double and triple sneezes, violent enough to rattle the dishes. In the center of the mound, the new fronds are unfurling, prehistoric, hairy, and willing. I find treasure therein — needles, twigs, and shells; fir and filbert sprouts. The Creeping Jenny is rampant under the white birch. If not trimmed a bit, […]

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Morning Call

Clocks are a great human tragedy. A faithful sun, enough for the rest of creation, is not enough for us. Imagine a play in which all of the actors carry clocks — through love scenes and in displays of assumed moral courage, both hands occupied, fingers absentmindedly caressing the worn shells of those insistent, demanding objects as if they were pampered pets — while the audience nervously taps its feet […]

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