Thursday, December 16, 2010


Someday, a little grandchild will run and find me working in the dim light of a beautiful, cavernous barn. The barn might be a real one, beside a house in the country down a narrow road, or it might be in a little room up a creaky flight of stairs and made entirely from imagination, memory, and dreams. Either way, the child will know it is a barn, even if he or she has never seen one — even, in fact, if I have imagined the child, as I have now, with clear eyes and perfect limbs, and a voice like a shepherd’s song.

There will be sweet-smelling hay in the barn,
an old lantern, table, and door, outlandish plans
for an ark, worn leather, maps, and dust.

“Grandpa? It’s time for supper.”

“Oh, really? And whom do we have here?”


“Me? Let me see, now. . . . No, I don’t know anyone by that name.”

Grandpa. . . .”

“But your voice is familiar. Are you a lion?”


“A bear?”


“A bird?”


“Oh — I know. You’re a window-washer, and you’ve come to wash my windows.”

“Grandpa, you don’t have any windows.”

“But I do. Look up here. See where the shingles are missing?”

“That’s your head.”

“Well, aren’t you going to wash it?”

“No. It’s too dusty. Tell Grandma to wash it.”

“I can’t. Grandma is busy sewing carrots.”

“She is not. You can’t sew carrots. They’re too hard.”

“She’s sewing potatoes, then.”



“No . . . cranberries.”

Dear Grandma. I can see her now, holding the finest silk, spun from her oldest, most cherished dreams. The family has come to visit. Happily, she weaves a cloud for every bed.

From Songs and Letters, originally published December 5, 2006.


Art by JFM said...

So beautiful and dream like...I love the feeling that I get while I read your words and paint the images in my mind. Thank you William, for this beautful story...

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

yes I love the too the feeling that I have reading this

William Michaelian said...

Jan and Laura, thank you both for lending this piece your heart and imagination.

Jean Spitzer said...


William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Jean.

Old 333 said...

Very soft, yet very clear, to quote a Sun King. Thanks for it, William.

William Michaelian said...

You’re welcome, Peter, and thank you. I wonder how many Sun Kings there have been.

Woman in a Window said...

Ohhh, I read this and love you, the grandfather, the child, the grandmother, and even, even, even cranberries:)


No, beautiful. Enough.


William Michaelian said...

Thanks for the music, Erin — or at least, so your reaction seems to me.

Bitch said...

Words from a grandfather to his
Very sweet and romantic and a child's

William Michaelian said...

Hello, Monika! Yes, I thought this might be a nice thing to share after yesterday’s Poem, Moon, Child. I hope you’re doing well.

Anthony Duce said...

A wonderful narrative with a grandchild. I like this very much.

William Michaelian said...

I’m glad, Anthony. Thanks. This was written about a year before I became a grandpa in “real life.”

isabelle said...

Oh William, this is quite quite beautiful, it makes me think of dust in sunlight shafts and the peace and sweet air of barns and what a wonderful grandpa you must be.

William Michaelian said...

I hope I am, Isabelle. I know this: I had some good examples to learn from. And all were keen on the sacred space in barns.