William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘The San Joaquin Valley’

Poor Sarkis

Although I too have gone to seed, the birds still prefer the sunflowers. In this world it is not enough to have a big head and limbs. There is an art to being stationary. The spiders, though, are tempted. So are the bees. The lacewings. The crane flies. The breeze. The crane flies. Whither, stranger, dost thou roam? Have you news from home? And he soars, and spins, and cries, […]

Continue Reading →

The Grapes Are Early This Year

Our grapes, nearly ripe, were mostly ruined last night by a raccoon. At least two-thirds of the crop was on the ground, along with several leaves, the berries shattered from the bunches and scattered around. We had checked on the vine late yesterday evening and all was well. Then, early this morning, I noticed several places around the house where the animal had dug, the telltale holes being unmistakable. We […]

Continue Reading →

Sweat the Gold, the Place You Kneel

I moved two tiny oak-sprouts from the garden into clay pots today. One was growing next to the six-foot redwood stake at the end of a tomato row; the other was near the base of our vine. For now I’m calling them the vineyard oak and the tomato oak, the latter at the risk of a little clumsiness for the double-o vowels. The main roots on both were surprisingly deep. […]

Continue Reading →

Past Present

The apricots are coloring. I remember early mornings on the farm when the smell of ripening fruit filled the atmosphere — to breathe at that hour meant taking the combined scent of apricots, peaches, and plums deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream. The magic I felt, balanced my practical concerns with the infinite and set me working at a soul’s pace. And though I left behind that life […]

Continue Reading →

Rabbits in a Row

Back again early this morning to Goose Lake and environs, where the fading wildflowers and drying grass are among the first signs of summer. Even without rain, the lake itself seems not to recede, its waters sealed tight beneath a heavy layer of algae and scum. All that’s heard is the deep bellowing of a bullfrog, his voice as loud as any dock worker or boatman. A humid atmosphere, the […]

Continue Reading →

Not Dying

This piece, another entry from Songs and Letters, was written August 3, 2005. The friend referred to is Glen Ragsdale, the artist who did the painting that appears on my book, The Painting of You. You can read a little more about Glen and see his painting here.   Not Dying After my friend told me he was diagnosed with cancer and had been given a year and a half […]

Continue Reading →

Photosynthesis

When I see an ad that says Last chance! I know immediately it’s for something I don’t need. What I do need is to spend as much time outside as possible. Nature never stoops to such tricks. Her treasures are inexhaustible, and all are freely given. From birth, we are drawn to her. A child in her arms is a happy child. This is written, of course, from the perspective […]

Continue Reading →

Wild Carrots

Seventeen years — hyacinths are there now, shaded by a rapidly growing volunteer cedar. My mother is gone. We live in her house.   Wild Carrots It just occurred to me that wild carrots have sprouted only once on the slope near the sidewalk in front of my mother’s house. That was about three years ago. My sons and I noticed them while working in the area. The roots were […]

Continue Reading →

Remember the Honeysuckle

Am I putting the puzzle together, or taking it apart? A foolish question, perhaps, since I don’t even know if all of the pieces are on the table.   Remember the Honeysuckle Remember the honeysuckle ’gainst the pillars on the porch? The place we were born is an open field now. Remember the window open to the night, the breaths and sighs of oleander bright, and tallow? We are their […]

Continue Reading →

The King’s English

When I was about ten or twelve, I had a ten-gallon aquarium. In it were zebra fish, little darting neons, tetras, a sword fish, an angel fish, a scavenger, and a bright and very friendly silver dollar — these were their names, at least as I recall them. The angel fish and silver dollar were small when we brought them home, but they grew rapidly, the angel fish becoming stately […]

Continue Reading →