William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Old Books’

Front Walk

In his journal, Emerson writes of walking with Hawthorne, talking with Thoreau, Carlyle’s latest book, and Tennyson’s new poems. In mine, I write of you, in terms of my own plain self. And this is our wealth: that we are each a funny blend of science and superstition, of pain, nerve, and luck. And this is our grief — the loss of dear Waldo, Emerson’s five-year-old son. August 4, 2019 […]

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The Sunlight on My Mother’s Face

Well before daylight, in the sublime quiet, reading the letters of a thoughtful young man who later lost his life in the Civil War at the age of twenty-nine: Charles Russell Lowell, nephew of the great writer and poet, James Russell Lowell. Then, suddenly, raindrops — so few in number it reminds me of my mother sprinkling water on her ironing. June 26, 2019   The Sunlight on My Mother’s […]

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Of Lives and Letters

The Life and Letters of John Muir

All too often, those of us who call ourselves writers speak of the books we read as if their very mention were an indication of our learning, depth, and worth. I speak about them because I love them, knowing full well that even after they are read, I will be at a loss to explain the profound or mean effect they have had on me, my understanding, and my thinking. […]

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Departure

As much as by touching, reading, and simply having them near, I think any poet would gain by the calm, deliberate practice of describing the scent of old books. To describe, in essence, what can’t be described, and yet must — this is his domain and his charge; to illuminate what is haunting, yet painfully familiar — this is why she was born; and then, when she dies, to haunt […]

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Seesaw

Living Dramatists

After visiting the massive black walnut tree in the park by the river, we continued half a mile along the trail to murky and muddy Goose Lake, which is swollen now, to the point that we didn’t need to go see it, it came to see us. Despite its name, we have yet to see a goose there. But there were a great many ducks, gliding across the surface and […]

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Moving Books Around

Jonathan Swift 1812-1813

At the moment there’s scarcely room here to sit, leave alone exercise free movement of my elbows. And while this is only a slight exaggeration, I’d best make no sudden moves, or I might topple the tall stacks of books everywhere around me, as the room is in a state of turmoil brought on by my decision to add two more tall bookcases, despite the fact that there’s no obvious […]

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Desk, Bench, Zibaldone

For a good long stretch, I had been chipping away at Leopardi’s Zibaldone, a few lines here, a paragraph there, careful not to wrinkle the bible-thin pages. Since it is made to lie flat, I had been keeping the book open here on my mother’s desk. But the time came recently that I needed the space to accommodate more books: a complete six-volume set of Imaginary Conversations by Walter Savage […]

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