William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘My Mother’

Wild Carrots

Seventeen years — hyacinths are there now, shaded by a rapidly growing volunteer cedar. My mother is gone. We live in her house.   Wild Carrots It just occurred to me that wild carrots have sprouted only once on the slope near the sidewalk in front of my mother’s house. That was about three years ago. My sons and I noticed them while working in the area. The roots were […]

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May Day

I’m still reading Vincent’s letters, and will be for quite some time. I continue with Thoreau’s journal, a fourteen-volume project. I’m about fifty pages into William Wetmore Story and His Friends, from Letters, Diaries, and Recollections, by Henry James, published in two volumes in 1904. I’ve begun the Library of America edition of John Muir’s nature writings. And I’ve just finished at Home with Disquiet, a wonderful new collection of […]

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Song as Summons

I wonder how old I was when the idea first reached me that our departed loved ones might still be near and looking on. I don’t remember having thought of it myself, or it ever being suggested by my parents. I might have read it somewhere. I did a lot of reading in my youth. I find the idea poetically appealing, but I’ve never thought of it as either definitely […]

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Bumblebees’ Wings and Old Dolls’ Clothes

Our apricot tree has bloomed right through the frosty weather. Now we’ll see how many of them stick. The first blossoms appeared during the last week of February. Now it’s St. Patrick’s Day and they are still opening, some puffed and ready, while the oldest look like hairy spiders attached to the limbs — at least that’s the way they looked yesterday afternoon, when I paid the tree a visit […]

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Be Mine

Beautiful old-fashioned valentines. There’s a box of them here in my mother’s desk that she kept from her grammar school days. Delicate, simple, intricate, ornate, all with familiar names. Off to the library, now, to high school, to marriage, to war. Home again, home again. To clothesline. To family. To a walk through the park. And what have we here? Someone’s initials, in the heart of the sycamore? “Old-Fashioned Valentines” […]

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Monuments

We live in a house full of old furniture, old books, old photographs, old dishes, old pots and pans, and sundry heirloom antiques. Wouldn’t it be strange if we were to populate it with smart devices — a term itself meant to last no longer than what it was coined to sell? Isn’t it better to speak to each other and to ourselves than to an array of gadgets and […]

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My Father Walking, and Twenty-Four Other Things

It occurred to me recently that I walked more than a thousand miles in the immediate neighborhood during the past year, and several hundred more on state park trails — in terms of sheer distance, roughly halfway across the continent. This is hardly a profound realization. But though it was made in small increments, the journey itself was far from mundane. And a journey it remains. Another year and I […]

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Sunday’s Child

At long last I can say I have read Leaves of Grass — every word, in the poet’s final edition. I can also say that I have read each poem aloud, phrase by phrase, line by line, slowly, patiently, thoughtfully, carefully listening all the while. I had read Walt Whitman before. I had read his 1855 first edition, and many of his poems at random. And about fifteen years ago, […]

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A Thimbleful of Ash

My mother writing Christmas cards, late into the night. The darkest time. The greatest light. December 6, 2019   A Thimbleful of Ash If you don’t eat your supper, Santa won’t visit us tonight. All the cookies will go to waste, the cards, the toys, the bows. A fire in the fireplace. The front door left unlocked. Somehow, Santa knows. On the porch, a stack of wood. Long lives, a […]

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A Sturdy Leaf

Memory’s a sturdy leaf — sycamore, say, or valley oak, placed beneath a sheet of grade school paper fleck’d and grain’d, and a crayon in your hand — rubb’d across its ribs and veins, it surfaces in your chosen color — and all you love begins again — father, mother, supper table, open kitchen window — and somewhere, off in the distance, carry’d nigh by the divine providence of dust […]

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