William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Squirrels’

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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Morning Tea

After sipping icy water spiced by moss-crowned leaves, the robin flies from the birdbath to the fence-top for a meeting with the squirrel. When they arrive, they find the sun already waiting at the spot. Welcome to my secret hideaway, says he. I’m surprised you found it. Then the clouds move, and the sun, the robin, and the squirrel disappear. And here we find the poet, not quite ready, in […]

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Soft Landing

Forty-seven degrees. Across the street, the big bare tree behind the neighbor’s house is full of starlings, so many it sounds like spring. Earlier, from the front window, I saw a squirrel jump from the edge of the roof into the cedar. Such a leap would not have been possible a year ago — the tree has grown that much. In that spirit, I am making a small leap myself. […]

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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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Friendship, Devotion, and Care

Our recent walk through the fog near Goose Lake seems like something that happened ages ago — a lifetime, maybe more. I study the calendar: is it something I really know how to read? Upon our arrival, we met a man and a dog who had just finished their walk. Standing beside the open door of his small yellow pickup, the man was gently blotting moisture from the dog’s head. […]

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Gray October

Our garden space is small, but this year we were still able to give away dozens and dozens of cucumbers and many baskets of cherry tomatoes. Now the garden is on the wane, with a tomato here, a cucumber there, and as many sunflower seeds as the birds can hold and the squirrels can tuck away. Whole heads, their spiny necks broken, jays squawking, squirrels chattering and scolding — we […]

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A Way of Life

Imagine a race of beings so in love with themselves, so jaded, so steeped in their bitterness, that they choose daily to revel in their own righteous filth. Impossible, of course. Yellowed cottonwood leaves on the trail. The trees shudder to think. Gray skies all day without a hint of blue, the smoke pushed east again for a time. Broken green husks of walnuts on the steps. Squirrels, or birds? […]

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Three Leaves

Near the old horse-drawn French plow, around which in spring the bluebells bloom, there is a tiny oak with three jagged yellow-orange leaves still firmly attached to its dark sturdy stem — its entire growth for the year. In all likelihood, a squirrel planted it there — a noble destiny from a forgotten meal; and a solemn joy to note, for someone who often cannot remember what he had for […]

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