William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Ignorance’

Wildflowers

We may believe a cataclysmic end of our world can be prevented by the enlightened understanding of a few. But is it true? Evidence thus far suggests the possibility; but blindness and wishful thinking are such close cousins that even on the very precipice, truth may go unrecognized. In every age, we have witnessed the dangers of our abysmal ignorance, the masses raging toward some imagined desirable end, which has […]

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The Mist and This

If I had not walked in the mist before dawn, I would not have heard the owl calling from the fir tree on this side of the wetland. And the land is wet, as were we. I need to explore the backyard, which has been transformed by the recent storms into a forest floor strewn with branches, cones, and leaves. There are fir branches six to eight feet long on […]

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Reply

Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem, the second offering in the Library of America’s two-volume collection of nine Harlem Renaissance novels, is an outstanding, refreshing, exhilarating, musical work full of sweet longing and suspense, an artful record of the timeless love affair between pain and laughter in which each, mutually and gratefully dependent on the other, flowers and bleeds. The source of pain: American history, ignorance, hatred, prejudice. The source of […]

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The Fall of the Ten Thousand

Imagine living in a society that values business and entertainment more than it does the health, safety, education, and welfare of all of its members. Imagine living in a society that despoils the environment in favor of comfort and monetary gain, while shunning the sciences, the humanities, and the arts. Imagine a society that glorifies violence and war, and regards people of different backgrounds and customs as evil or unclean. […]

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A Threat to Security

In this country, if one isn’t descended from the land’s indigenous people, or from those who were brought here in chains and sold into slavery, then one is an immigrant, or, as I am, the descendant of immigrants. Many, of course, are a combination of one with another, and sometimes all three. And still there is hatred, still there is prejudice. “This land is your land, this land is my […]

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Long Gray Train (I Pay the Porter)

I woke up in the middle of the night needing a sip of water. I walked down the hall, and as I passed through the dark sitting room, a sentence sprang to mind, or the beginning of a sentence — a phrase, a breath, a sound, a combination of sounds — a powerful suggestion, insistent, dreamlike, meaningful, profound, but I didn’t have the focus to pick up a pen and […]

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This I Call Happiness

Even just a few casual observations by Dostoevsky on the then-current publication of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina are of such a depth as to distinguish both as great writers. My own reading of the book years ago, as much as I enjoyed it, by comparison, was that of a naïve schoolboy. Considered in the context of Russian society and Russian history, of which then I had but a slight understanding, there […]

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Flames

Another Library of America book purchase: William Wells Brown: Clotel and Other Writings. Violence at Oregon’s state capitol — flags, baseball bats, guns. Only humans are intelligent enough to express themselves in this manner. High winds from the east. Smoke and ash. Fires raging in the Cascades. Widespread evacuations. Windows closed against the elements. Early morning. Here in the dark, one thinks of the birds. The cricket in the rhododendron […]

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Remember This Always

The park by the river is now a vast dried flower arrangement, mixed ever so lightly with Queen Anne’s Lace, mostly in its ornamental seed stage. Instead of sweetness, pollen, and a hum in the air, the hushed atmosphere is ripe and beyond; there is dust, there is decay, almost as if heaven has heard our voices, and reluctantly looked away. The berries have been picked; the hops harvest is […]

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Once Upon a Rose Garden

It’s one thing to order the destruction of an historic rose garden; more tragic, though, is that there’s always someone willing to follow such orders, when the intelligent, logical thing to do is refuse: No — if you want to destroy something everyone holds in trust, do it yourself, with your own hands, for all the world to see. And if you’re worried about blisters, you might try a moral […]

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