Sunday, June 2, 2013

Death is going back

Death is going back
to see the swing your father built so well

the new owners leave it exactly
where it is.


Jonathan Chant said...

Yes. Exactly so.

Fine write William.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Jonathan.

AutumnDreams said...

William, my dear friend. These beautiful words that you have written are exactly the way that I have been feeling since my father-in-law passed away.

Because I have been feeling so low, I felt that I needed to start a fresh new blog and you found me again...I am so grateful.

Thank you, Jan

William Michaelian said...

I am too, Jan. I will always be grateful, and honored, to call you Friend.

I’ve thought of you a lot since your father-in-law’s passing.

And this little poem — not that poems should, or can, ever be measured — happens on the eighteenth anniversary of my father’s passing.

My very best to you, and thanks, too, as always.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Interesting coincidence (again). My father passed away a little over eighteen years ago as well. I wrote this poem for him.


My father, the pilot, taught me
the names of the stars:
Betelgeuse, Sirius, Rigel, Polaris.
He taught me all the constellations:
Orion & Leo, Pegasus, Centaurus,
the eternal portraits of imagination
painted on the infinity of dark.

I was only three or four when,
just before sleep, he came into my room.
He told me that he would be home soon,
that he had to leave to hang the moon.
The next night I’d ask my grandmother
to take me outside to see “the moom”,
so I could be sure that he really was
still up there.

Long after the B-17s and the DC-3s,
but before his beloved 707’s,
my father flew the magnificent old three-tailed
Constellations, and many souls were carried
over empty seas, along the edge
of the heavens, presidents and kings and VIPs,
in skies then just as empty.

And now at night when I look up
I think of him and all the constellations.
I wonder how, after all these years,
they’ve never changed,
how all he ever taught me is still true.
I look up at the moon and imagine
what distant seas are flown,
what stars now skirted by his wings,
now that I’m sure that he really is
still up there.

Copyright 2008 – Softwood: Seventy-eight Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald
Copyright 2010 – Ponds and Lawns: New and Corrected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

William Michaelian said...

Ah. Good. I remember this one, of course. Thanks, Gary.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...


Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

- Dylan Thomas

Joseph Hutchison said...

Beautiful, William! I have a poem in my out-of-print Bed of Coals (though it's coming back next year) about a swing set built without "the right tools." An oblique homage to my Dad, who always had the right tools, and when he didn't, always went out and bought or borrowed the right ones—unlike his dream- ridden, word-besotted eldest son!

Here's one for the mix here, from Thread of the Real:


The backs of my father’s hands,
splashed with bruises … the dream
had scrubbed them clean. His heart
was healed, and the raw gravel
grinding down his knee joints
had been washed away. I thought
that for the first time in years
his ears could catch sparrow song,
chitter of squirrels, faint breath
of a breeze in the shadowy trees
around his garden. I saw him crouch
to test a tomato’s redness, then stand
up easily, giving it a few days more.
Months later that simple image
can sting my eyes until they glisten,
seeing how the dream had granted him
days without end.

William Michaelian said...

I love it. Thanks, Joe. And I’m glad you did add it to the mix. And I remember it as well. From Songs and Letters:

Still Farming

On my knees, planting flowers on the rough clay slope
next to the driveway at my mother’s house, trowel in hand,
dirt under my fingernails, sweat dripping from my brow,
I suddenly sense my dead father behind me and say
out loud, “That’s right, I know you’re there.”

Still farming, that old man of mine. Can’t resist the call
of planting time, the scented earth, the feel of tender leaves.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...


I Don’t Have A Son

I don’t have a son.
I’ve never been a father.
But if I had, they said,
I’d have been a good one.
But I was a son once, young,
and had a good father, too,
with whom no wasted time
was ever spent.

But if I had a son
I’d tell him the truth,
which my father never did…
that life goes fast by.
You won’t believe it
when you’re twenty,
but at fifty you’ll wonder
where he went.

Copyright 2010 – Ponds and Lawns: New and Corrected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

William Michaelian said...

Gary: Thanks again.