William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Oaks’

Sweat the Gold, the Place You Kneel

I moved two tiny oak-sprouts from the garden into clay pots today. One was growing next to the six-foot redwood stake at the end of a tomato row; the other was near the base of our vine. For now I’m calling them the vineyard oak and the tomato oak, the latter at the risk of a little clumsiness for the double-o vowels. The main roots on both were surprisingly deep. […]

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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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Survivor

I wrote the first line and thought haiku. Then it sprouted leaves. The last line fell from the oak’s highest branch. Each of its seventeen syllables is an acorn, at the center of which is mist.   Survivor I was once like that — a crushed plant on the path, my flowers smiling back. Then I was an oak, with a swing tied to my lowest branch, and a hole […]

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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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Tree People

The intimacy of the charcoal-green outlines of trees near dawn — grayer at a distance, greener in their fairy tale approach — these sisters and brothers, the dark redwoods and bare oaks, the wise owls of one’s thought. Lights on over breakfast tables. Still wind chimes, wondering which clothes to put on. I shall wear a sparrow. And another, The mist is enough. February 13, 2020 [ 665 ]

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Adagio

What of someone who is happy and joyful, but unable to communicate, while those around him assume he is miserable and sad? And what of those who are miserable and sad, who assume everyone else is? Early morning the day after Christmas — not one soul out to see the frosty rooftops. I saw, or think I saw, an eagle in the neighbor’s fir tree the other day. But it […]

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Shadows on the Sidewalk

For sidewalk, Walt Whitman liked to use the word trottoir. Offhand, I can think of no other nineteenth century American writer who did so — this, of course, based on my faulty memory and limited reading. Word choice aside, one thing I’m noticing this time through his Specimen Days, is that buildings and trains are every bit as alive to him as oaks and sparrows — indeed, in his poetic […]

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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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Scars

High water has driven the homeless from their encampment on the west side of the river. In that place alone, they number in the hundreds. They turn up everywhere — downtown, in parks, under bridges, in the public library, in the hospital half-starved and with nasty infections. Moss grows on asphalt. Daffodils make way for tulips. How high is high moral ground? What is it like to live there? No […]

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Oaks Remember Poppies

A friendly neighbor out walking is glad to see us. After exchanging greetings, he reaches out as we pass, and almost touches my shoulder. Someday we might even know each other’s names, and then forget them when we’re older. And someday when it’s warmer, we will be colder.   Oaks Remember Poppies Sunflower sprouting in a paw-print. A pot on the step by the door. Oaks remember poppies. We forget […]

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