William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Reading’

Ask Yourself

At the rate I’m going, steady though it may be, it will take me several years to finish reading all fourteen volumes of Thoreau’s journal. I hope I have those years. But if I don’t, I’m happy to have had those leading up to them. And when I say hope, I mean I’m willing to live them if they’re given me, and that I understand very well they might not […]

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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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If It’s a Heart You’re Looking For

My secret today is a passage I read very early this morning. Or is it the moon, a day past full, that lit the dark night of your longing? June 19, 2019   If It’s a Heart You’re Looking For If it’s a heart you’re looking for, the child cried, take mine. I’ll grow another, and a better, and a bigger. Then the child died. And the child’s words came […]

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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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To take a lifetime to write it, even when it appears quickly and suddenly on the page.

To discover how deep are its roots, and how bright its leaves.

To see the space around it, the light behind it, and the shadows it casts.

To listen to it breathe.

To marvel at its strength, in a savage and brutal age.

To die for it, if that’s what it takes.

To read through the fire, and write from the grave.

Canvas 1,207 — May 10, 2018

Canvas 1,207 — May 10, 2018

The Sentence — Canvas 1,207

War

An impartial reading of history reveals that with few exceptions, what is considered good diplomacy is really nothing more than pressing one’s advantages and driving a hard bargain. But these mean business principles are hardly something to take pride in, and the so-called fruits of their gains only strengthen the chains that bind us. There is no honor among thieves. And there is certainly no more dignity in their legalized […]

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That We Write Each Other

I make no distinction between our online and flesh experience; wherever we are, whatever we are doing, this is the room we are in; this is our meal between us; this is our joy, and pain, and grief, and doubt.   That We Write Each Other That we write each other in this way fulfills a very old promise. And the promise is this: that those of us not met […]

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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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A Fairy Tale Pirate

In a sky so still, sparrows, like steam from a kettle, or arrows, that know where old gods go when they fly. “In a Sky So Still” Recently Banned Literature, May 20, 2014 Twelve Poems, Poets International   A Fairy Tale Pirate There is, these days, the habit of reading aloud the journal of Henry David Thoreau, which affords a better hearing of that extensive part of him which he […]

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