William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Journals’

Swallows

Early most mornings, past the big oak where the street bends, I see swallows — usually a pair, but sometimes one or the other is out alone. I say one or the other, but they move so quickly I can’t tell them apart, or even judge their relative size. It’s possible, too, they’re not the same swallows — just as I’m not the same person who sees them from day […]

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Smoke and Robins

If it takes me as long to read Thoreau’s journal as it did for him to write it, I will never finish. I have, however, read the first four volumes. Ten remain. At the beginning of the fifth, he refers to himself as a mystic, transcendentalist, and natural philosopher, and says that in most cases he finds it best, or at least easiest, to let people think otherwise — that […]

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Offstage

Offstage — July 9, 2013

You’re waiting in the wings for your turn to go on. You pull back the curtain. The stage is dark. The audience is gone. The time has come. You say your first line. Light is a poem. And somewhere, somehow, someone hears you. June 25, 2020 [ 790 ]

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Fire and Rain

The bees are busy in the wilderness. The blue star creeper is thriving, and has covered a wide swath of the west-facing slope. The red and white clovers are in bloom. Also in bloom are numerous dandelions, their long stems nodding in the breeze, each with a tiny sun affixed. Interspersed are some soft flowering grasses about a foot high. Hugging the ground are oxalis; spurge; purslane; creeping jenny; moss. […]

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I Go Sparkling

I know someone who has a beautiful garden, with a barn, a path, many squirrels, and a broom. In the garden, she moves rocks around. And the rocks respond: they summon light and shade, night, rain, snow; and they hold each beyond the winking lives of them. I do the same with small smooth river stones. Today, near our jade plants, at the east end of the flowerbed by the […]

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Time Out

Instead of walking early this morning, I spent an hour and a half watering and tending the garden. It takes time to visit everyone, to top a dahlia here, touch a dewdrop on a maple sprout there, pick a pint of strawberries, count the Agapanthus blooms, marvel at the number of new cones high up in the firs, admire the smooth stones in the shade garden — but of course […]

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We Are Our Own Lens

In light of the sheer immensity of things, any endeavor, however well executed, is bound to seem trivial and small. We write poems, build bridges, send rockets to the moon; yet within this vast expanse, the page is small, the earth is small, the moon is small, the galaxy is small. How powerful, really, would a universal lens have to be to even show we are here? One partial answer […]

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Pale Wisps and Blossom Clouds

This spring, everything that blooms has bloomed heavily, in scented blossom clouds. Last spring it was the opposite, a sparse bloom in pale wisps, like an invalid’s dry cough, or a storm that disperses before it arrives. It rained again last night. At six this morning, the trees were dripping in the bright sunlight. At the top of the hill, even the old one-sided maple looked like it was in […]

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Wilderness Areas

In a space I can traverse in two or three steps, an ant or other creature of similar or lesser size can revel and burrow for days — can pass whole lifetimes and seasons, if the space is left undisturbed. This is why, around the house, I’ve established wilderness areas. Passersby, if they notice them, might see them as weed patches or dandelion infestations. But the miracles that unfold there […]

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Paradise is Paradise

I seek no other heaven. If this vast wonder-garden is a perfect god’s creation, what improvement would it need? Paradise is paradise, as far as I can see. And if it isn’t perfect, if it happened of itself or is here by some other cause, my judgment of it is bound to share the same imperfection, because I am a part of it. In this garden, the grasses come and […]

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