Poetry, notes, and drawings by William Michaelian
Dear William:I joked earlier about whether you were spying on me because your poems hit so close to home. This one though, hit hard. I apologize for intruding, but this poem of yours came up to my home, opened the door and then just walked right inside. So, I wanted to share the following poem with you. I think you’ll understand.There is an old Irish legend that soon after a loved one dies they will appear and say their goodbyes as a white butterfly. My Only Brother DiedSo now my brother's dead as welland, but for me, none left.All the family has passed.I take with me when I leaveevery tear and memory and laugh,all the glory and the hardship and the shame,a history of generations now gone by.Now only I remain to plot a courseon this current through the night,to reach and tack against restless swellthis proud yet soon abandoned vesselof family name, her broken linesand torn sails draggingacross these lonely seas.What ports unseen, I wonder, now give havento they who sailed with me,and how breach this distance?What signal fire can he now lightfrom such dark and unknown shoresto let me know he sees this shipand the tattered colors on the mastthat I alone still fly.I saw a slender, brittle branchin the cold Autumn wood today,sagging, weary in the breeze,with a single, lonely leaf upon its tip,the last.And I saw a butterfly.Copyright 2008 – HARDWOOD: 77 Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald
Gary, many thanks for this.I remember your poem, of course, and love it all the more now in this new light, and through the sweet filter of the years gone by. What have we learned? Much, I think; and that much is as vivid and weightless, and as present at the right time, as the butterfly.I appreciate the connection.
Thanks, William. Maybe this one sums it up. As I mentioned, I've been off the internet for over a year now. I forgot how good it is to share poetry with poets.Young & OldI’ve been both. Most will.Sparrow on the windowsill.Owl in the tree.One benefits the otheras nectar feeds the bee.The immediate of being young:each event a focused instant.Like many tiny multi-colored tiles.The expedient of being old:the focusing of all these small mosaicsto eventually form a pictureof the losses and the miles.To be young is to be, to be old is to see.Copyright 2010 – Ponds and Lawns: New and Corrected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald
Indeed. “Be then a bee hymn,” as I seem to recall having written somewhere, somewhen. Do you, in your vision, still take pen in hand?
I have not written a new poem (after fifty years of writing them and six published books) in the last six years. Long story.I have about two books of unpublished leftovers that I have planned to put together, but life kind of got in the way.If I can survive the rest of this winter I hope to get back to work.I'm not sure, though, that there will still be a world to write for, at least a literate and civilized one. Do I sound depressed, pessimistic and discouraged? Sorry, yes. That's why I come here for a little cheer and inspiration.Gary
I hope you find it. I think we’ve both been around long enough to understand the importance of carrying on while it is still in our power to do so — not as martyrs, but as simple, humble, and maybe even daring believers in our worth. Our old writings are certainly of value, but inspiration is ever a thing of the present. Work — explaining anew to ourselves and to others what we see and feel — is a force that is unhealthy to deny.
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