Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Am Wise, I Am Blind

I am wise when I see a fallen bird,
or a leaf that dies,
or the changing of the seasons.

I am wise when the morning light
steals in and warms
my tired eyes and limbs.

I am wise before the dead,
and the soft brown
earth that covers them.

I am wise when I press my ear
against the stone and listen.

I am wise when I remember
faces, tears, and hands.

I am wise when I dream of roads,
fields, and places I have been.

I am wise when I call out to them
and am reassured by silence.

I am wise when I am blind,
as I have always been
when I dare to understand.

I am wise alone, but I am a fool
in your calm presence.

I am as wise as you are willing to pretend.

From Songs and Letters, originally published September 14, 2006.


jasmin said...

lieber William, heute, die Pause, die Zeit hat es gebracht, gezeigt...liebe Grüße Jasmin

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful, William. In tone and directness reminiscent of the great medieval song-poems of the Carmina Burana. A freshness of lived life, the thinking part just part of it; words saturated with what philosophers call qualia. How I miss that in so much of the poetry I read!

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...



What else to say?

Anthony Duce said...

Wonderful poem…. Very wise

Akeith Walters said...

A great poem.

vazambam said...


Shall I say it?

Beyond words.

giar said...

i'm curious to read you.

Willy. said...

We become wiser trough live? yes,
maybe! Certainly, by live expierience.Das "Rhein gold" is still an illusion! Thanks

Two Tigers said...

Lovely poem, William, something incantatory about its rhythms, almost psalm-like. And if love cannot make us gently overestimate each other, what good is it?

Bitch said...

I am speechless. Tender, touching
Thank you,

Anonymous said...

I don't know how you do it my friend,
but so glad that you do (and can!)


: )

Old 333 said...

Yah, that was good. Very good. Thanks for it, William.

@Willy: The rheingold wasn't real? Then what......

(thumping and rustling sounds)


William Michaelian said...


Jasmin, Joe, Gary, Anthony,
Gray, Vassilis, Giampaolo, Willy,

Gabriella, Monika, Brad,
and Peter,

My thanks to each of you for your generous reading and response. The observations you make, and the kindness you show in sharing them here, helps me see the poem in a new, different, and better light. Not counting its timeless, shy gestation, the poem itself is four years old. But I feel I’ve lived ages since then — long enough, at least, to be that much wiser and all the more the fool. Just the other day, in fact, I was thinking how incurably foolish I really am, and how happy I am to be so, which is proof in and of itself. I will go one step further and say, I am wise when I am a fool, and foolish when I am wise. And that, since it brings you here, is my good fortune.

I admire you all and deeply appreciate the work you’re doing — the poems, the art, the elucidation and analysis, the humor and wit, the subtle, creative ways you use your minds and hands. Do not underestimate yourselves, or the power you have to inspire others to imagine, live, and dream. And with a smile, I would say, don’t overestimate yourselves either. If you happen to be a genius, don’t be too impressed by it, because genius, like life, is on temporary loan.

With good wishes, I thank you once again.


Wine and Words said...

The last line is the clincher. We are only as wise, foolish, brilliant, to others as they choose to see. Perception is truth? So sayeth the WWW, but I disagree. Perception is the truth you can accept. I'd rather been foolish than all knowing. A shorter fall.

William Michaelian said...

Annie, that may be, and that I have already hit bottom I take as a comforting sign. Your statement, “Perception is the truth you can accept,” will be with me, I think, for a long, long time.

Denise Scaramai said...

wise findings!

wonderful poem!
a hug

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Denise! It’s nice to hear from you....