Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Oaks


The oaks are thriving. The oaks are dying.
The path is wide through rolling hills.

My father is beside me.
But he doesn’t care or know.

The oaks are sighing. The oaks are crying.
Here. There. It’s impossible to tell.

Both. And all. Smoke. A bell.
Water at the sink. A glass for him.

The past for me. Present.
Perfect. Lying.


10 comments:

Joseph Hutchison said...

A fine, resonant poem, William. There's something so powerful about "Water at the sink. A glass for him." The availability of the water, the glass placed there ("for him")—that everyday care. Lovely....

donnafleischer said...

Lying, but presence, nevertheless, which is its own truth. Strong poem, William, gentle and strong.

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Joe. Thank you, Donna. This is what remains of the one dream I had last night that didn’t completely melt away.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

But as we can see, what you caught of your dream is more than enough to keep us awake!

William Michaelian said...

Insomnia? The best cure I know of is to dream that you’re asleep.

awyn said...

Isn't it interesting, that even in a dream we observe that we're observing. The father sees only the road ahead, the son hears trees crying. I was especially drawn to the two last lines - the continuous presence of the past, perfectly preserved in memory. But was it true? Or did I dream it?
Brilliant poem, William. It flows like a song.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks very much, Annie. It’s interesting to me that my attempt to recall and preserve this dream — the doing so of which seemed important because of the presence of my father — would take this form, rather than that of a narrative, as so many of my other dreams have done. The fact is, that is what I first set out to do, but the images (and no doubt their seeming contradiction and the sadness they aroused) would have nothing of it, and so I was quickly swept onto another course, which was almost like dreaming itself, or the dream in question continued. And that makes me wonder how faithfully this dream, or for that matter any dream, can be recorded. Because writing is also making. It’s something alive and growing, and their for changing in your hands.

William Michaelian said...

Or therefore. Yes, I think I like that better.

Harry Kent said...

Having lost my father only a few years ago, i find this deeply moving, William. A wonderful, resonnant piece.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Harry. I lost mine almost seventeen years ago. And yet saying it still sounds strange. Not because I fear its meaning, necessarily, but because he’s present in so many ways, to the point that I can say our relationship continues. Of course we learn more with each passing year — or do if we’re lucky; so perhaps I feel I know him better than I did back in 1995. At least in my waking hours.