William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Violence’

Acorns and Oaks

I ran before five yesterday morning in a driving wind and rain. The only person I met was a very large skunk, which was crossing the road in front of me when it stopped briefly at the sound of my footsteps, then scurried on. It ran along the edge of the opposite sidewalk for a distance of about a hundred feet before taking cover in some bushes. The rain was […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

A Flower for Marian

Today is the birthday of my father’s little sister, Marian. It is also the anniversary of my grandfather’s death in 1990 and the day the ancient orthodox Armenian Church observes Christmas — except in Jerusalem, where the Brotherhood at the Monastery of St. James follows an older calendar and Christmas falls on a later date. In the dimly lit, incense-laden sanctuary of St. James itself, there is a nook where […]

Continue Reading →

A Letter to the Girls

The great naturalist, Edward O. Wilson, has died. But the world has not lost him, as the common phrase goes. He lives on his books, in his colleagues, and in the countless people he has influenced and taught. He lives on in the environment and ecosystems he helped and is still helping to save. It is not necessary to meet and know someone personally to benefit from his or her […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

Stirring the Ashes

Which is the greater fallacy — that we can know what is coming, or that we can be prepared? * For the latest news, see the cutting room floor. * Nothing dies. In its own time and at its own pace, everything becomes something else — the leaf, the cloud, the body, the star, the stone. What we see is a graceful dance and fleeting references to energy. * We […]

Continue Reading →

Moving Day

This morning I saw a hairy spider crawling on the edge of the counter in the bathroom. It was in no hurry. I found the small plastic jar we keep for such situations, guided him into it, covered the top, then released our surprised friend outside, where he trundled off through some dry moss. I try not to sit very often or for very long. I feel better when I […]

Continue Reading →

Religio Medici

In the latter pages of his Religio Medici, Sir Thomas Browne mentions in passing that in addition to several regional dialects, he knows six languages. He does not write so to impress; it strikes me more as an expression of his generous, liberal nature: he sees himself not as the center of the universe as it was then known and understood, but as a fortunate participant in everything it has […]

Continue Reading →

A Feather on the Scale

We’re told this morning that more than 900,000 acres of Oregon’s forests have been burned or are in the process of burning. We’re also told that ten percent of the state’s population has been evacuated to safer areas. The valley we live in is dense with smoke. The air quality readings are well into and beyond what is deemed hazardous. Yesterday evening our youngest son brought us two air purifiers […]

Continue Reading →