William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Words’

Shadows on the Sidewalk

For sidewalk, Walt Whitman liked to use the word trottoir. Offhand, I can think of no other nineteenth century American writer who did so — this, of course, based on my faulty memory and limited reading. Word choice aside, one thing I’m noticing this time through his Specimen Days, is that buildings and trains are every bit as alive to him as oaks and sparrows — indeed, in his poetic […]

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Imagine a Word

They’ll say we knew each other, that we spoke to each other in poems, and that when at long last evening fell, we were solemn, we were still. December 4, 2019. Evening.   Imagine a Word Imagine a word deep in its image, and a page in an ice age burning for warmth. Imagine a tongue that is fire, before learning to speak. Imagine the ashes, and what they are […]

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Paradise, Tragedy, Love

Near the river this morning, we walked through beds of maple leaves six or eight inches deep. The leaves are still bright. And there is a pungency about them, for in the moist atmosphere their undersides are already being consumed by the elements. What sticks to our shoes is paradise to a host of our fellow beings, even as we innocently help hasten their end. And so paradise and tragedy […]

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A Warm Muffin and a Fresh Ripe Orange

The weather turns cold, and here I am with my books again — the book of fallen leaves, and of the cloudless night and bright moon — the book of wordless days, and of the failing light in my work room — and glad I am, love, you will be home soon. October 9, 2019   A Warm Muffin and a Fresh Ripe Orange Imagine loving silence and solitude so […]

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Brevity

I use words to show none are needed. And I smile. “Brevity Loves Company” Recently Banned Literature, February 4, 2018   Brevity As each petal is wise in the purpose and symmetry of a flower, so must be the words we choose, each an action with a will to bloom. Be brave, be brief, beware the power you wield; thoughtless use is profound abuse. Brevity is depth of character, the […]

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You Think You Know Yourself

The assumption that it’s difficult is what makes it so. But then, so does any assumption at all.   You Think You Know Yourself You think you know yourself — then comes a word, a phrase, a night, a moon, an oak in rust on a time-worn hill, leaves, twigs, and cloud-debris, horseless riders faceless until they swing right in front of you — did you dream them or did […]

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First Came the Meanings

To me, one strange thing about living is having a name. Another is so many not thinking it strange.   First Came the Meanings First came the meanings then their names chamomile squirrel supper table the boy himself a pebble down a well loving the hand that let him go Recently Banned Literature, May 10, 2013

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Departure

As much as by touching, reading, and simply having them near, I think any poet would gain by the calm, deliberate practice of describing the scent of old books. To describe, in essence, what can’t be described, and yet must — this is his domain and his charge; to illuminate what is haunting, yet painfully familiar — this is why she was born; and then, when she dies, to haunt […]

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