William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Oaks’

Glass to Green

Street by street, power is being restored. Last night at nine o’clock, it was thirty-five degrees. This morning at three-thirty, it was forty-five. Yesterday morning, we viewed the destruction around town. The ice storm has closed roads, brought down wires, felled mighty oaks, split cedars, ravaged birches, and crushed cars and rooftops with mossy limbs. In the afternoon, the roar of chainsaws filled the air. They will be running for […]

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And This

The iris bed is ready for winter. The sleepers are settling in, some with space between them, others in full embrace, with backs and shoulders turned to the soft fall sunlight. None, apparently, are concerned about the presence of the two tiny oak seedlings that sprouted earlier in the year, not even those that are two or three inches away. And anyway, that’s just a human measurement; irises and oaks […]

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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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