William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Language’

In the Language

We hear it said that words are symbols, as if in a sense they were lined up on one side, with reality on the other, and us in between — dirty things tainted by their own meanings, useful as a daily sort of common currency, but basically crippled as a means of expressing life in its great profundity and mystery, which are best trusted to silence. This is very much […]

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A Small Boy and Others

The language of Henry James in A Small Boy and Others is a softly spoken dream that gently begs the use of the reader’s own tongue. The dream is in color; it has no corners or edges or sides; it is more like the distance one travels between a robin’s breast and a fully ripe strawberry — the kind of journey a child makes many times each day — even […]

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Fossil Poetry

The well ran dry. He dug deeper, and deeper, his back to the soft spring rain.   Fossil Poetry I’m tempted to say writing is what keeps me sane, but I think we’d better reserve judgment on that. The opposite could easily be true. Writing might be what keeps me insane. Or, my insanity might be what keeps me writing. Then again, it might be my sanity that keeps me […]

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Vigil

A day for tea. Not one cup, or two, but three. A trinity. Prophecy? Too, it well may be. An acute form of language, Or memory. Imagined, or worse. A blessing, a curse. A death, a truth, a fiction. A doorway. A wise oak. Surrender. Confession. Birth. March 31, 2020 [ 712 ]

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Canvas 824 — Patience

Canvas 824 — January 17, 2017

I wonder, is it possible to cultivate a patience so gentle and profound that it outlives the flesh? Or is patience a pond we bathe in, and cannot defile with our death? We were greeted by a friendly, talkative woodpecker yesterday near Goose Lake — a young bird more intent on socializing than carrying on its regular craft and trade. Watching us from a bare trunk not five feet away, […]

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Holy Water

Language is a river. Cross it, swim it, pollute it, drink from it, bathe in it, use it in rituals, float on it, ride its rapids, sit calmly at its edge. Paddle upstream. Drown, and live to tell the tale. [ 623 ]

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Paradise, Tragedy, Love

Near the river this morning, we walked through beds of maple leaves six or eight inches deep. The leaves are still bright. And there is a pungency about them, for in the moist atmosphere their undersides are already being consumed by the elements. What sticks to our shoes is paradise to a host of our fellow beings, even as we innocently help hasten their end. And so paradise and tragedy […]

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Emergency

A grape on the tongue, and language is born. Or is it dream? Or is it memory?   Emergency He was riding his bicycle slowly over the bumpy dirt road that ran between his father’s vineyard and the neighbor’s. It was late summer. The atmosphere was warm and still, and the air was heavy with the scent of ripening fruit. As he wobbled along, he noted with pleasure the tracks […]

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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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Brevity

I use words to show none are needed. And I smile. “Brevity Loves Company” Recently Banned Literature, February 4, 2018   Brevity As each petal is wise in the purpose and symmetry of a flower, so must be the words we choose, each an action with a will to bloom. Be brave, be brief, beware the power you wield; thoughtless use is profound abuse. Brevity is depth of character, the […]

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