Monday, January 18, 2010


Such misery — and I cannot help
but think

would this not also be
a perfect time

to lay down our guns

or will we ever care
that much

(first publication)

“Haiti” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: a small slice of the pie.


Vern said...


RUDHI - Chance said...

Yaah, Help instead shooting!

Conrad DiDiodato said...

paradise lost

DK said...

No, I do not agree... I agree with the thought of course, but not with it as being a statement or a poem. It's too obvious and it lacks strength/imagination.

William Michaelian said...

Vern, thanks. I appreciate your visits.

Rudhi, thanks. The idea does seem simple enough, doesn’t it?

Conrad, thanks, as always, for responding.

DK, thank you for your comment. I’m glad the thought was apparent despite the weakness of my offering, which was indeed part statement, part poem, and also, I think, part journal entry. In this case, I don’t know how strong or imaginative these few words really need to be, especially since they shouldn’t need to be said at all. Either way, they are true to the way I feel, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted them to be read.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...


Rudely awakened! A noisy commotion.
Jolted from sleep by a feud of some sort!
I wake to an angry screaming of crows,
sounds like a thousand, all over the place.
I rise, close the window, make coffee,
turn on the news to drown them out
and in a droning, barely noticed routine
of report learn of a different murder.
Not another poor man robbed of his life
for a car or a debt still unpaid,
not another poor child, neglected and scarred,
not this kind of killing relayed,
but a number instead of a face.
Not a Joe or Jose or Yusef, but a place,
a number in multiple thousands
of those who have recently left.

I see a dark tide of crows in the pasture
as though the trees were hung with black crepe.
I see hundreds of raucous and shouting
black birds, but their bivouac is brief.
Some go and some stay. Their visit is short
but if they all disappeared in an instant,
their clamor submerged by cold silence,
would I awaken to the weight of this day,
understand the scale of departure,
the suffering and grief and the death conveyed
in this, at first, barely noticed routine of report?

Copyright 2009 - Ponds and Lawns, Gary B. Fitzgerald

William Michaelian said...

Gary, thanks for blowing through. Mighty fine.

Elisabeth said...

It used to be called 'make love, not war'. Compassion rather than destructiveness.

The shift requires caring, but from the part of leaders, not just from the poets.

So the poets need to speak even more loudly I suppose if there's any chance they might be heard and even then I wonder : Not just do we care, but do we ever learn?

William Michaelian said...

Elisabeth, I have no expectations of “leaders,” as they’re commonly called, and I don’t look to them for hope or guidance or anything else. I think change, or the possibility of change, lies with the individual. At some point, a personal decision must be made to try not to contribute to the human-made causes of suffering in this world, and to try to learn what those causes are. Will it be enough? No. Is that an excuse not to try? No. But we know from experience that people who do make the effort exert a positive influence on others. Is our penchant for destruction part of our ancient wiring? I don’t know. Maybe. But even if it is, we are also wired to do and create beautiful things. It isn’t a matter, necessarily, of “speaking loudly.” It’s quality of our actions, some quiet, some loud, almost all of them unsung, each according to our nature and our gifts, that counts. It really is simple, but it seems to me that people fear simplicity, because in simplicity we are revealed, and we choose instead to cling to our knowledge and our dear, noble habits like they are wreckage in a storm. And so even the most beautiful, eloquent poem can fall on deaf ears, just as the right word, spoken in the right place at the right time, can change a person’s life.

Elisabeth said...

I don't look to leaders for the things you mention here either , William.

I suppose I was thinking more along the lines of your last sentence , that beautiful words can fall on deaf ears, and the deaf ears can sometimes belong to those in power. In fact I suspect they often do.

I don't think there's an answer to any of this. I once thought that if I could find the right words in a particular situation I could make a difference. Now I know it's not simply up to me.

I can say the most helpful words imaginable and still they may not be heard.

I think we are probably arguing the same point. It's just harder on the page than were we talking face to face. Thanks for clarifying your thoughts for me. I hope mine might be a little clearer, too.

William Michaelian said...

Well, actually, yours were clear from the beginning.

About leaders, I was merely stating my view, and making no assumption on your behalf.

“Poets in person” — what a frightening thought!

Thanks very much for taking the time to comment.

Rachel said...

Lieber William,
du hast so recht, grad wenn man solche Elendsbilder sieht, dann kommen Gedanken....
Alle Gewehre verschrotten, alles überhaupt, was es an kriegsführenden Mitteln gibt und mit diesem Geld Haiti helfen, es wäre eine ganz schöne Summe, die für Wasser, Essen, neue Ortschaften, und, und, und, reichen würde...

ein guter Gedanken von dir!

herzlich, Rachel

William Michaelian said...

Rachel, you’re right, and it’s proven over and over again, not just in Haiti, but all around the world. People live and die in poverty and go without proper food and medicine even in the wealthiest countries.

Thanks for visiting. It’s always a pleasure to see you here.

Momo Luna said...

To lay down all guns would be a perfect gesture, but i'm afraid that is an utopia. But i believe all positive thoughts and words shared with others can make a difference.

Sweet greetz, Monica

William Michaelian said...

Wonderful to hear from you, Monica. Thanks.

Chrees said...

FWIW, I would note that the quickest and most effective help that came to New Orleans, Aceh, and Haiti (just to name the latest) came from the U.S. military. Ironic? Or a natrual extension?

William Michaelian said...

Or both?

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...


Thank you, William.

I have also suffered through a significant change of life this week, most severe and unexpected.

One consequence is that I will no longer be able to visit my friends on the internet.

Thank you for having been here. I am grateful that I've had the chance to meet you. You are a blessing. Good luck and farewell.


William Michaelian said...

Gary, the feeling goes both ways. Write me if you can.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

And so, as my Taoist and Pantheist friends will appreciate, we have now come full circle:

And it's about time, anyway, that the famous Terreson of Louisiana and the famous William of Oregon be introduced (both famous in their own right on the poetry internet).

Peas in a pod, they are.