William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Sleep’

Applause

Late yesterday evening a very active thunderstorm passed through this part of the valley, moving northwest from the Cascades, bringing with it a spectacular display of lightning and enough thunder to wake the dead. And yet somehow, I fell asleep before it was over — but not before I heard the music of heavy rain landing on the roof and on the plants outside. That, and being generally exhausted from […]

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Skunk Detail

When I turned on the front step light at 4:30 this morning, the skunk seemed only mildly surprised. It wasn’t on the step, just a few feet beyond. It sniffed the air and peered at me through its thick glasses, then moved off into the darkness, toward the pine. Careful alert regard, mutual curiosity — I’ve known friendships to begin this way. Another way is the wondrous miracle of instant […]

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The Late Show

Warm days, clear nights. The junco babies are frantic with hunger, and keeping both of their parents busy bringing food to the nest. The early-morning watering ceremony continues. Frantic, yes — but when evening comes all grows quiet and the birds sleep through the night, their tiny bodies resting and growing until dawn wakes them again. Circadian perfection will guide them all of their lives, while we torture and punish […]

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Kirk

I note here the death of my eldest brother, Kirk. A research scientist in the field of photoacoustic infrared spectroscopy, Kirk was overtaken mid-stride late last May by an aggressive brain tumor. They ran side by side for a while, but the tumor was an ill-mannered competitor without the capacity to appreciate Kirk’s steady, fair-minded pacifism. Like so many of us, the tumor had to win. And so, two days […]

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Foolish Questions

On the tracks to the east, a train’s heading north. A long train. North through the fog, beneath a full moon. The moon that kept us up most of the night. Light in the room. Light between the closed blinds. But it’s the silence up there that I wonder about. I can’t help thinking how strong the moon must be. Is that why it’s round? To keep it from being […]

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Forty-Two Houses

Counting the one we live in, between here and the stop sign there are seven houses. I just ran to the stop sign and back three times. That makes forty-two houses. It’s foggy this morning and fairly chilly out, just above freezing. Nice and dark. No wind. Dawn just a thought, not yet a glow. Maybe a promise. We shall see. I refuse to take it for granted. Forty-two houses. […]

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Teachers

I could never think of myself as a self-made man. I’ve learned something important and indispensable from everyone I’ve known, every step of the way. Immediate family, relatives, friends, acquaintances, playmates, school teachers, employers, coworkers — each has contributed something, each has awakened something in me, each has helped show me the way. In this process, I also count forgotten random encounters. I include pets. And I most certainly include […]

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When a Bird Sings

Yesterday morning while I was watching the birds finding things to eat on the frosty ground, I was struck again at how crippled by convenience I am, in the sense that, for much of the year, I am cut off from the activity of getting food. The time spent in direct contact with the earth, the energy used, and the attention and involvement required in an endeavor that yields varying […]

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Borne by the Bier

Sweet sleep, for we might say sleep is that from which we arise, to emerge at birth and find ourselves astonished by the light; and then, at the appointed time, that to which we return, ripe and ready for the next miracle. Sweet, for how could it not be? — as sweet as the sleep of the child one was, is, and will become — sweet as the dew on […]

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