William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Reading’

All Ye Who Enter

In 1851, in a journal entry written in late-September, Thoreau writes in its own separate paragraph the following sentence: The poet writes the history of his body. This statement, or observation, occurs seemingly out of the blue, between references to the growth pattern of pine trees and the tendency of a certain kind of grass to burn slowly and steadily without flame. In Part 2 of Clarel, his 18,000-line poem […]

Continue Reading →

Autumnal

Reading Thoreau to the ticking of one’s body clock, until a visitor, upon entering the room, is as likely to find a cricket in the chair as someone with a book in his lap — that’s how it is. Earlier this afternoon, a hummingbird kept returning to the front window to feed on her reflection. As I read the season, I see now that in the earliest chapters, many clues […]

Continue Reading →

Happiness

All of Herman Melville’s poetry, complete in a beautiful, one thousand-page book — the new Library of America edition, out just days ago, is already in this reader’s hands. This is another of those projects I enjoy so well, like the slow and careful reading aloud of Thoreau’s fourteen-volume journal, which I have currently under way, Joyce’s Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and the complete works of other writers I have […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

Ross Freeman

How beautiful, and how strange, the sense of continuity, harmony, and balance that keeps a lifetime of writing and reading suspended, as it were, or meaningfully afloat — such is memory — and as I hold my glass up to the light, I am surprised to find it still full.   Ross Freeman He went to the window and closed the drapes. His typewriter on the table looked like an […]

Continue 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 […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

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. […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →