William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Our Old Farm’

Echoes

My first paying job away from the farm was picking grapes on the neighbor’s place immediately west of ours. I was twelve. I worked with the neighbor’s double-jointed son, who was the same age. We did that for two seasons. It was hot, dirty, and dangerous. The danger was from two sources: black widow spiders and yellow jackets. One year, in the space of three days, I killed thirty-four black […]

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As It Is Written

I have pruned orchards, and rows and rows of vines. Mud on the ladder, frost on the ground. This makes me different somehow. Cold toes. Orange peels. The bright fur coats of faithful hounds. Now my pen has wooden handles, with a blade at the end. In the fog, its voice makes the strangest sound. November 29, 2020 . As It Is Written After a long day’s work, the writer […]

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Naked in the Realm

The air was so fresh and clean yesterday, so perfectly scented with subtle fall fragrance, the edges of the clouds so beautifully crisp and defined, that one would think there had never been a fire in Oregon, or that nearby there are fires burning still. And now, borne by the southwest wind, rain approaches. In the afternoon I took out our tired old tomato plants; the cherry tomatoes, though, I […]

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Past Present

The apricots are coloring. I remember early mornings on the farm when the smell of ripening fruit filled the atmosphere — to breathe at that hour meant taking the combined scent of apricots, peaches, and plums deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream. The magic I felt, balanced my practical concerns with the infinite and set me working at a soul’s pace. And though I left behind that life […]

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Rabbits in a Row

Back again early this morning to Goose Lake and environs, where the fading wildflowers and drying grass are among the first signs of summer. Even without rain, the lake itself seems not to recede, its waters sealed tight beneath a heavy layer of algae and scum. All that’s heard is the deep bellowing of a bullfrog, his voice as loud as any dock worker or boatman. A humid atmosphere, the […]

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Not Dying

This piece, another entry from Songs and Letters, was written August 3, 2005. The friend referred to is Glen Ragsdale, the artist who did the painting that appears on my book, The Painting of You. You can read a little more about Glen and see his painting here.   Not Dying After my friend told me he was diagnosed with cancer and had been given a year and a half […]

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Photosynthesis

When I see an ad that says Last chance! I know immediately it’s for something I don’t need. What I do need is to spend as much time outside as possible. Nature never stoops to such tricks. Her treasures are inexhaustible, and all are freely given. From birth, we are drawn to her. A child in her arms is a happy child. This is written, of course, from the perspective […]

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Chorus

More than anything, it seems I write in terms of surprise — that yesterday was not my last chance, or this morning, or an hour ago — that I am here at all — that I am still here, that I ever was here, without really knowing what here is, or why, or how. And it might well be that this condition, this outlook — this disease if you prefer […]

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His Own Clock Ticking

Expecting snow. Expecting rain. Expecting spring. Expecting soup. Expecting carrots. Expecting beans. Expecting love. Expecting death. Expecting wings.   His Own Clock Ticking A human aware of his own clock ticking, I give you the weather — as it relates to my own, which, having just bathed, is moist and warm and promising sun — a day begun precisely so, is all that matters, and must not be ignored. How […]

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The Old Road

One Hand Clapping February 2004

Who knows why, but this morning I find myself thinking about jackrabbits, vineyards, and dust. These are but a few significant emblems of my childhood, which, rather than ending, gradually became the insanity I labor under today. Polliwogs, crawdads, slow-moving mossy water. The sound of our tractor in the distance, the tractor and my father pursued by a cloud of blackbirds looking for bugs, seeds, and worms. As I look […]

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