william michaelian


In a sky so still

In a sky so still, sparrows
like steam from a kettle, or arrows,
that know where old gods go
when they fly.



See how the fig tree declares her passion
before her leaves are on,

how the dogwood, winded down,
is bridal in her bloom,

how the birds, busy in your branches,
have shaken you, and flown.


How different this dawn

Surely you must see
how different this dawn,

stating its case
in soft-bright colors,

is from your righteous

how she laves
her face in this pond,

then comes to light
on your own cage.



Over the farm equipment show,
and the lot where old oaks once had been,
clouds, but no rain : clouds, that in their color
pass as dust : dust, and a mournful breakfast scent
from the edge of town : town, where the first
early haircut is done, the slap of lotion
on : on, in a truck that smells like
last year’s straw : straw,
or a barn floor bed
with your girl


Silence best describes the circle

Attention, you know, is love,
and silence best describes the circle

of these cherry blossoms,
and the old man watching
with his idle broom;

we need beg nothing new;

how we live what we imagine,
and treasure the days,

and see the old man through
becomes our age,

defines the love
we hold true;

and what would you resolve,
there in your room,

when one great circle
holds us all,

blossoms, drifting, too?


Everything is one thing

Everything is one thing,
says the surface to the pond

of the bird below and the fish above
the boy with rock in hand;

One thing inseparable,
as love from the other that over

and under ever in wonder
begins as it ends.



How bare trees love the moon

How an orphan grows

How dreams please themselves

How we know the moment

She goes sailing



Where I come from,
even scars have scars.

I call this Beauty,
and in giving scars the name,

I make other scars
to love.


As much love

As much love
as a leaf

its face

to the rain


The distance

The distance between
two snowflakes

is a kiss is
to melt


to say

even death
will be


this way


The day they find

And then the day they find
letters on bone,

and wonder
at this race now gone,

whose very ink
was blood.


Better blind, than blind

Ask me why I so willingly
read myself blind, and I might say,

Better blind, than blind;

For never was my darkness
so very, very light.

Ask me if I’m not lonely in the absence
of color, and I might say,

I know what the colors know;

For never was my gladness
so very, very full.

Ask me if my dreams sullenly dim
and fade, and I might say,

As inevitably as yours;

For never was this life
so very, very sure.

Ask me why I blithely carry on,
and I might say,

I am the carried one;

By cloud, to grave,
I am the carried one.



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