William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘My Mother’

The Trusty Hamilton

Memory — June 20, 2009

For the first time in ages, I wound my father’s wristwatch, which I keep on my work table next to his brother’s old briar pipe. The trusty Hamilton started ticking immediately. The tiny secondhand, set in a circle built into the face where the 6 should be, started making its way around. Now, several hours later, I see the watch is still running — as am I, apparently, though I […]

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Nothing

I have not been myself lately, said the wind. Nor I, said the mountain. The shepherd boy, who had been listening, took up his flute. When he was an old man, he put it down again and died. And the wind rushed, and the mountain blushed, to the depths of the canyon.   Nothing I said to my mother, I said to my father, “I have nothing to do.” To […]

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Sitting At My Mother’s Desk

It’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s old, it’s heavy, it’s made of wood. It’s simple, it’s worn, it’s scarred, but it still shines when the light is upon it. She bought it many years ago from a retired school teacher eight miles away in the next town. In the Thirties, before the Second World War, she and one of her girlfriends walked to that town from our town along the railroad […]

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Newborn

Our grandsons were here, together and warm in their grandmother’s chair, talking about football. I went out for a walk after supper. It was cold, but not too: twenty-nine degrees; still, but not blue: the breath of a breeze. The stars were out. The Big Dipper was standing on its end: pirouette. No one was out: no cat, nor dog, no cleared throat. Bare trees: ghosts: roses: smoke: fir is […]

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As I Recall

A few days ago, a red-tailed hawk swooped past the window and landed in the small bare maple opposite the front door. Not a very large bird, it was still too big for its chosen perch. With each move it made, it was poked and brushed by twigs. Finally it braved the maze and dropped to the ground. After investigating the muddy dahlia bed, it flew off across the driveway […]

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My Mother Saved Our Baby Shoes

Each day, I give thanks for the unknown and unexplained.   My Mother Saved Our Baby Shoes My mother saved our baby shoes, two handfuls of wedding rice in delicate nets, flowers, roses, brittle stems, in her cedar chest. And in all her years of not remembering, I wonder which she forgot the best. I wonder which she smiled at when she sat here dreaming in her make-believe and present-tense. […]

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Comfortable Assumptions

These entries, however poetic, abstract, direct, or imaginal they may be, also reflect my understanding of the science of the day. And that understanding, as extensive as it is, is really quite limited. It’s also full of comfortable assumptions, gaps, fictions, and inaccuracies. It is imaginal, abstract, direct, and poetic, like the interwoven fibers of a beloved old coat. Many years ago, my parents gave me a simple but beautiful […]

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Tea Stains and Powder Clouds

As I see it, when I remember something, a new version of the past is created, which, however much like the previous versions, is subtly altered by the very act of recall, along with whatever else has happened or not happened since the original was first made and lived. This is why, when I am suddenly confronted with hard evidence from bygone years, I will sometimes go into a kind […]

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The Fall Way Home

Of the clump of hyacinths we planted recently in front of the crape myrtle I now call a pomegranate, the Muscari armeniacum jumped out of the ground as soon as we turned our backs. Soon there will be enough to cover an entire hillside. Then I will exchange my pen for a shepherd’s crook, and lead my sheep into their purple presence. Fig leaves, bright-yellow, as big as elephant ears. […]

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Into a Strange Land

This poem is from Volume 3 of Songs and Letters and was written in 2005. There are twenty-four volumes in all. Back then, I did my writing at an old kitchen table from my childhood home. Our youngest son has it now. Since 2009, I’ve been using my mother’s old desk. If I remember correctly, she bought it from a retired school teacher who lived in the next town, about […]

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