William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Our Old Farm’

A Larger Life

In his journal, around the year 1850, Thoreau writes of the gradual disappearance of wild apples, saddened by the realization that a generation hence, they would be virtually unknown in the land. They were planted anywhere it was thought they might survive — in odd corners, along roadsides, against walls — and left to fend for themselves — like us, it occurs to me now, a lesson in abundance and […]

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Memory

Caught in a thunderstorm running home from the vineyard with their hoes crowned by chickweed where metal meets wood the two held fast by a nail sealed with blood   Memory If memory is a bridge, what does it cross, how long is its span, and how high above? If it is a graveyard, whose bones does it contain? If it is a church, who is nailed to the cross? […]

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Jung and Easily Freudened, Specimen 1

I used to have dreams about work not done. I was behind on the farm, I was late, the necessity and importance of the job had completely slipped my mind. An example: suddenly it was April or May, and I realized I had forgotten to prune ten whole acres of vines. Always, or almost always, the dreams culminated in a feeling of guilt and shame. It has been many years […]

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Long Time Passing

For weeds in tight spots, I use an old folding grape knife we brought from the farm. It was given to my father back in the Seventies as an expression of thanks by a man for letting him work for a short time to meet a few immediate bills. If I remember correctly, his employment lasted two or three days, and was ended not by my father, but by the […]

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Then and Now

Flies on the screen late in the fall, worn out and slow, less rumble than show, in shiny old armor. The grapes gone, the vineyard leaves yellowing, the weeds spent and dry. Not a drop of rain. Walnuts drying in big wooden boxes leaning against the shed. In front of the house, at the side of the road, a boy steps out of a big yellow bus. Thoughtfully, absently, presently, […]

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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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Still Farming

Still Farming

As an old farmer of the written word, I know that in my deepest cultivation I’m really just scratching the surface, and that the strange crops I bring forth, the cactus and the flower, are food of brief duration, and that when I’m gone, the land I care for and hold dear will be safe harbor for my feeble literary bones. Once, many years ago, while we were engaged in […]

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Our Old Farm Remembers Us

Some mornings, before it’s light, I think of the first hen down from her roost, standing silently like a ghost in the yard, unseeing, waiting, unsure, solemn, surprised, and a little confused. It’s almost as if she and I have both been pressed into service by an unseen hand, one if not wise, then bemused. So what’s left but to join her? Or maybe we should consider an exchange: she, […]

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