William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Reading’

Explain Yourself

Open, honest, illuminating, inspiring, heartbreaking, profound — I am glad to have read James Baldwin’s masterfully written essay, “Notes of a Native Son.” Yesterday morning, upon rising and after the coffee was on, I drank two large glasses of water. This morning I had less than a glass. Sometimes I have one, sometimes one and a half. Day in and day out, all through my growing up years, my father […]

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The Old City

If I am correct about the year, I first read Dostoevsky in 1984, on an airplane bound for Israel and the old city of Jerusalem. I had bought a paperback copy of The Brothers Karamazov, not quite aware at the time that I was beginning at the end, with what is considered the great writer’s crowning achievement. I read for several hours from Los Angeles to New York, and then […]

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Peacefully Ignorant

Tiny towns and crossings on the west side of the river: Amity, Hopewell, Eola. Lincoln. Zena. Bethel. On this side: St. Louis, Brooks, Mt. Angel, Bethany. Churches. Barns. Cemeteries. Oaks, firs, winding roads that give way to gravel. Smoke from fireplaces and stoves. Deer. Wild blackberries. When was the last time I wanted something I didn’t really need? It must be the forthcoming Richard Wilbur translations of Molière. And the […]

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Ages and Pages

Yesterday morning we dug the dahlias, and in the afternoon I manured the ground for planting next spring. Fluffed and raised from digging, the space looks like a new grave. This morning, the tubers having been cleaned, separated into smaller clumps, and dried, we tucked them away in peat moss for their winter nap in the garage. The apricot tree is bare and fruit buds for next year’s crop are […]

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Life, Death, Fall

This morning I finished Edward O. Wilson’s Naturalist. After lunch I read in Emerson’s journal about the death of his little boy, Waldo. Two months ago, I ordered Library of America’s forthcoming two-volume edition, Molière: The Complete Richard Wilbur Translations. Today I removed the plants from the pots, barrels, and planters behind the house. I also cleared the gutters, which were full to the brim with birch leaves and fir […]

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Destruction and Joy

Finished early this morning: The Diversity of Life, by Edward O. Wilson. The leaves are changing in the canyon. Yesterday morning, all through our three-and-a-half-mile walk from North Falls to Winter Falls, to Twin Falls, and then back to North Falls and on to Upper North Falls, the canopy was dripping from the previous night’s rain. In fact, it was raining, but the rain itself was being absorbed well above […]

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Dry as Dust

A short dream: Without questioning its odd location, I realize that the bookshelf outside on our front step would be more useful inside. There are only a few books on it, while in the house there are enough scattered and stacked about to fill it and more. What strikes me most, though, is the near absence of dust. Why is there so much more dust on the other shelves inside, […]

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It Might Be a Stone

Blue elderberry — one fairly dense shrub about ten feet tall alongside the path above Goose Lake; another twice as high, several hundred feet farther on where the path and dry stream bed turn; a third, the smallest, but with a crop every bit as ample as the others, not far north. Mission Lake, below the old black cottonwood, green with algae, very shallow, dotted with softly illuminated shore birds, […]

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What is Wisdom?

Australopithecus afarensis. Homo habilis. Homo erectus. Homo sapiens. What is generally referred to as ancient wisdom is of such recent vintage, that one can only begin to wonder what wisdom really is. And, biologically speaking, when, and where, and how, did the soul creep in? Was it present in the man-apes with brains the size of those in chimpanzees? Did God say — each word requiring millions of years to […]

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