William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Reading’

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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With Or Without Us

Three vultures atop a dead tree at the edge of Goose Lake. The water has receded; the surface is crowded again with lilies. Around the edge, a dense colony of Sagittaria latifolia, the potato-like tubers of which, according to Lewis and Clark, were prized by the natives and filled their canoes during their watery harvest. Wapato. In bloom and attracting bees on the main trail, the fuzzy pink spikes of […]

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How Do You Hold It?

Five in the morning. Seventy degrees. A light dew. Is there a way to separate memory from smell? It seems one is dry grass, and the other is ripening fruit. Shall we ask the toes? Is there anything they do not know? Early morning watering. The humans are expecting temperatures today as high as one hundred seven degrees. The plants, though, show no sign of concern. Which should we believe? […]

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Death Sentence

A poem of a sentence from Emerson’s journal, written 19 June, 1838: A young lady came here whose face was a blur & gave the eye no repose. The story behind it? Gone. Or is it still to be written? Mass shooting. I wonder how old I was when I first heard or read that term. No matter — now it is commonly used in plural form. It was certainly […]

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A Book and Boy

The first verse is a faithful telling of something that happened which my eldest grandson has likely forgotten, and which I had forgotten too, until I rediscovered the poem. The verses that follow are still happening. . A Book and Boy A book and boy in his lap, a farmer tellshis grandson how a big combine cuts the wheat,and loaves of fresh-baked bread come outthe other end. They compare hands. […]

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How Your Speech

After some time away, I’ve drifted back into Emerson’s journal, where, after reading for a while today, I found myself on Page 590 of the first volume of the two-volume Library of America edition. This time around, the searching sweetness of his observations makes me feel like a butterfly or hummingbird; his hesitations, confessions, and insights are flowers. It’s a springtime, summertime reading. Our grapes are in bloom. After losing […]

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Someday

In the evening, the lilac scent. When dry, the cones on the pine were open and appeared ready to fall. A little rain, though, and they have changed their minds. Now their upper halves are closed — not tightly, as when they are green, but enough to demonstrate their connection to the tree. While standing near the lilac behind the house this morning, I was visited by a little wren, […]

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