William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Work’

Robins

There’s a young robin building a nest on top of a light fixture under the eaves next to the little door that leads from the garage into the backyard. She worked at it Sunday for about eleven hours, having great difficulty at first due to the slippery metal, but by evening she’d managed to form what looked like a relatively secure base. Fluffy and determined, she resumed work yesterday morning […]

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The One My Father Used

You ask what happens when we die, I say the weather’s fine and the soil’s warming nicely. You ask how to make good garden compost, I say yes, that’s it exactly. What’s it? you want to know. I say the dirt between your toes, the ever changing clouds. You say you hate to leave it all behind. I say try this shovel, it’s the one my father used. . [ […]

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A Tiny Genesis

One thing to remember when you’re eating a seed, be it sunflower, flax, or chia, is that it holds the potential of perpetuating, even saving, its kind, as well as the species which are drawn by its beauty and which depend on it for sustenance. If you think of it only as flavorful, or as food for your health, you miss a vital dimension of living and eating. It is […]

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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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Things I Ask Myself

How slowly can I breathe? How deeply? How calm can I be? Somewhat calm? Quite calm? Infinitely calm? How far can I run? And for how long? How patient can I be? How helpful, how considerate, how understanding, how gentle? How little harm can I do? How little disturbance can I make in the world? How present can I be? How aware? How grateful? How devoid of ego? How much […]

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Whispers

It took me sixty-five years to discover the joy of working barefoot in the cold winter-wet yard. All those years in socks and shoes, trying to keep warm — what next will I unlearn? December 15, 2021. Afternoon. . Whispers The old man, they say, has lost his mind. But we do not lose what we give. And it is cold where they wait to be known. It is cold […]

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Movement, Breath, Miracle

In the canyon this morning, we were passed in small groups by three or four dozen runners preparing for trail events in November. Their ages spanned decades, and they were all happy, friendly, and smiling, and courteous to those of us walking, giving us ample warning of their approach from behind, thanking us when we had already noticed them coming and had stepped out of their way, and telling us […]

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The Page and the Moon

The rising sliver of the waning moon is good company. So is a blank page. I have seen many of the latter dawn and fade over the years, very nearly one each day — fade into print, into scratch, swirl, and scrawl. But if I had to choose between the page and the moon, I would keep the moon and let go of the page. And while it is one […]

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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 […]

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