William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Haibun’

Moss, Frost, Tea

It may seem a small matter, chancing to pass the house of a neighbor the very moment he is cursing vehemently in his driveway at six in the morning, his garage door open and garage brightly lit behind him; and it may seem an equally small matter, chancing to pass the same house the following evening and to have the scene repeated, with minor variations — this time he was […]

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Ladybug Light

We have never seen such a wealth of mushrooms. The entire neighborhood is covered with them. They have sprung up along borders, beneath hedges; they have erupted in flower pots and lawns; they crowd the sidewalks like bubbles on the rim of a glass. At the same time, as if to reveal their darker side, the older ones have already begun to rot. At a glance they look like stranded […]

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Dear Ones

If I had not known desperation, could I now know calm? What does the house feel, when it’s pelted with cones? If I had not known fear, could I now know love? What does the house dream, when the sun warms its bones?   dahlias in the rain bowed heads weak stems she brings them in

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Country Life

He’s kissing a girl who’s been packing peaches, elbow-deep in fuzz. She’s damp with sweat and has tired breath — it’s hot and the hours are long. In the house, the old farmer almost sleeps through lunch. His wife watches through the window — she knows the boy — but of course it’s his parents she really knows. And anyway, it’s not her daughter, the pretty girl from town, just […]

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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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