Thursday, March 10, 2016


What makes reading, writing, and observing daily life so joyful and necessary is that it simultaneously can, does, and will end in the very act. For me in my sixtieth year, there is no better definition of beauty than knowing my days are numbered, and that each of them is timeless and infinite. “I am here” and “I am not here” make up the sweet science of gratitude and vulnerability that make this life, whether or not or however truly, whimsically, or importantly it exists, the tender, worthwhile, instructive, baffling thing it is. How wonderful, this being a child in the face of monstrous concerns, to greet the weary tyrants of this world and invite them in to play. How wonderful, to play jacks with politicians, and to remind them of the art of make-believe.


Jan said...

This is lovely, make me feel like growing old isn't so bad after-all. Now...if I can just hold on to these thoughts :)

William Michaelian said...

Or better yet, let them go, and be like clouds drifting by. I am not afraid to say it: I like growing older. Thank you, Jan.

Jan said...

I love your attitude, William...can I borrow it :)

William Michaelian said...

Ha — well, why not, and we will both be crazy.

Jonathan Chant said...

Lovely post William. Listened to Dark Horse last night in your honour. By the way, I think that the cloth tape measure might be best.

William Michaelian said...

Well, now, at least that is settled. All I have to do is decide which cloth measure. It seems we have two — although measuring and seeming sounds contradictory. But never mind. Dark Horse — did I ever tell you that a friend and I attended one of George’s “Dark Hoarse Tour” concerts in Los Angeles way back in the day? I must have.

Jonathan Chant said...

Looks like we're finally getting somewhere with the tape measure problem although now we are faced with a tricky decision. I guess we'll have to mull the choice over for awhile.

Dark Hoarse? That must have been when George had laryngitis I presume. No, I don't recall you telling me this but then again, my memory is somewhat unreliable. Anyway, you were very lucky to see the great man.

William Michaelian said...

Very much so. He gave two concerts that day. We attended the matinee performance. What a wonderful spirit. Indeed, “Dark Hoarse” for that reason. Now: how does one measure a measure?

Jonathan Chant said...

Another William wrote Measure For Measure. Maybe that will help us?

William Michaelian said...

I am sure it will, likely in ways we can’t even imagine.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Young & Old

I’ve been both. Most will.
Sparrow on the windowsill.
Owl in the tree.
One benefits the other
as 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 mosaics
to eventually form a picture
of 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

William Michaelian said...

It’s nice to hear from you, Gary, and a pleasure to read this poem again. Thanks for adding it here.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...


I was lying in bed last night and it suddently occured to me: You know, I seem to remember William responding to that very poem with a comment about bees and nectar. Hmmm. Have I posted this one before? Well, that's a more definitive comment on aging than the poem itself, isn't it?

Interesting fact, just FYI. I always Google 'William Michaelian' and then select 'Recently Banned Literature' from the list. If I choose to make a comment, up comes my name and all is well. Last night, for reasons unknown, I typed in "Recently Banned Literature' and posted the poem. I got a screen encouraging me to enter my e-mail and Blogger password, which I did. It didn't work so I went back to my usual posting M.O. and successfully posted the poem.

Today I got an e-mail from Google advising me that someone had entered my e-mail and Blogger password and to advise them if I thought this might be an unauthorized use. Pretty weird, huh? This may be SOP, but I have never experienced this before. Tonight I went in as usual problem. Here I am.

I just thought this might be of interest.

Ant future poems will be previously unposted, I promise. Just waiting for the right subject. (Punctuation smiley face HERE)!

Your friend and fan,

William Michaelian said...

Why, bless you and your little imaginary emoticons! If the mood strikes, or the theme fits, recycle them poems, you forgetful grizzled old buzzard! (winking emoticon here.) As for your recent googleplex, I am always signed in when I post comments, so haven’t run into the situation you describe. Thanks, Gary.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Thank you, William, old friend (and I do mean old).

I notice that I had a typo in my comment above and mistakenly said: "’Ant’ future poems will be previously unposted...".
This is funny because the poem I am most proud of is actually entitled "Ant".

It is not my best poem or even my favorite poem, but I did send it to the eminent and esteemed Dr. Edward O. Wilson, author of 'The Meaning of Human Existence' and founder of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation (one of my heroes), at his office at Harvard and HE REPLIED!!!

He said: "I love it. It makes a key point!". This, with the possible
exception of my brief pen pal relationship with the late Franz Wright, was the highlight of my career. Well, I know I shouldn't name-drop, in fact, my old buddies John, Paul and George always told me that one should never name-drop.

Here is the poem:

(To Dr. Edward O. Wilson)

A new page turned for a brand new poem.
A small black spot moves upon it,
impedes my next creation.
I look closer, see a tiny ant crossing
an unmarked sea of white.

I start to wipe it off.
Stop. What, I think, more perfectly
constructed and designed,
more intricate and precise,
than this tiny, autonomous moving dot
could I possibly ever write?

Copyright 2008 – Softwood: Seventy-eight Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

William Michaelian said...

Another Starr in your galaxy. I noticed the “Ant,” but gracious soul that I am I said nothing — far be it from me to correct anyone. Besides, I thought to myself, Is Gary possibly leading into his truly wonderful “Ant” poem, which I remember so well from the copy of Softwood in my possession? Likely — very likely, I surmised. In any case, I love it, and if George were still here I would mostly certainly tell him so.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Speaking of George Harrison, I recently heard his song "Within You Without you" on the radio. It has always been one of my favorites. I realized, though, when I heard it this time, that I may have misunderstood the lyric (forty years later...Jeez).

I guess I was too young, but I alwayse thought he meant: "Within you" (life) and "Without You" (the rest of the world). It was a shock when I finally figured out that he may have meant WITHOUT you...i.e. no more you. You aren't here anymore but the world will still go on without you.

I'm learning.

P.S. 'Ant' was a genuine typo. I meant to type 'Any' but the Lord works in mysterious ways.


Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!


I’ve always been proud of my Irish
for deep within me is the love
of all things loved by the Irish:
fine horses and music and poetry,
pretty girls and a windy sea.
But I’m no more Irish than you are,
just a mix of many things…
Scottish and Dutch and German,
some Welsh and a little Cherokee.

My Irish is only an illusion, just a name
(though perhaps a touch in the soul).
I’m just an American mongrel
like the rest of us, like that other illusion,
that game we play every day
of who and what we are or want to seem to be
and all but moral mongrels.

Copyright 2009 – Tall Grass & High Waves, Gary B. Fitzgerald


My family’s been gone from Ireland
for at least two hundred years.
Many generations in America,
many pioneers. Many who worked hard
for every buck. But the only Irish left
in me is my name and a poem,
a fear of ghosts
and some damned sorry luck.

Copyright 2008 – Softwood: Seventy-eight poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

William Michaelian said...

Well, on that fine note, let me respond with a couple of my own “Irish” poems. (I am not Irish myself, but, as a matter of possible interest, I do have a Scottish great-grandfather.) These date back to early 2006, and are part of my Songs and Letters.


Bless me, fither, fer I have zinned,
it’s been foorty years
zince yer last confusion.

Neverwhiles in the pub
where you was zittin,
fer I was listnin to you woo
bright’n cheery maids.

Red-haired they was, fither,
don’t you go an deny it,
behind yer game a ordinary cairds.

I seen ya creakin in yer vestments,
thinkin noons the miser,
er somesich in yer ringading bell.

Nodden down foorn yer blessin,
fither, yer the one a needs it now.

Nodden down, den zither
we’cn go an dream
another paint a stout.

Nodden down, den zither
we’cn scheme
what life is all about.

One More for Finnegan

The Grave-digger’s Song

It’s one more for Finnegan,
Then we go on home.
Michael to his pretty wife,
And me to the burying ground,
Me to the burying ground.

I dig a hole for Finnegan,
And let him fall right in.
Dig a hole for Finnegan,
For dear old Finnegan I dig,
My sweat all running down.

Finnegan, says I to him,
You were right to go.
There’s nothing for us here,
No fields to plow nor anyhow,
To pay us for our tears.

Then Finnegan he rolls over
And looks his eyes at me.
Half a smile and half a frown,
Finnegan he rolls on over,
Like a drunk man in his shroud.

Says old Finnegan to me,
What’s that yer prayin, Willie boy?
Have ya lost yer gourd?
From where I sit it just don’t fit,
Then he begins to snore.

Well, that’s Finnegan for sure,
Always gets the last word in.
But it ain’t no sin for a man like him,
No sin in the burying ground,
No sin in the burying ground.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

BeGosh and Begorrah...'tis fine writin', Wllie me boy!