We have been writing
for centuries now,
secure in the knowledge
that there are books.

When we see them
lined upon our shelves,
we feel brave and proud,
and spill our words
like blood.

Walt Whitman gave us
Leaves of Grass,
Emily Dickinson
Much madness is divinest sense.
But what lives would
they have led
without their papers
and their pens?
Would they have sung
their songs by firelight
or wandered begging
through the land?

Because poets
will always find a way.

Like Solzhenitsyn
in the gulag,
we will render verse
by counting pebbles
in our pockets,
though frozen to the bone.

Like Victor Hugo�s
Jean Valjean,
we will carry the manuscript
in our heart to higher ground.

Like brave mothers,
we will sing the alphabet
even in a desert,
or in a field of bones,
and then give birth
to sons and daughters
who in themselves are poems.

Deaf, dumb, or blind,
poets will praise
the days and nights.

When we shake the tree,
ripe words will fall
on fertile ground.
They will sprout on paper,
or suspend themselves
on an invisible web
in pure, thin air,
bright tokens
of a promised land
where thoughts converge.

Our poems are vessels
on a mighty ocean
we have yet to know.

They are ancient ships
sailing in the cold, clear water
we take from springs and drink
with our cupped hands.

They are the joy
that we hand down,
the delicate lace
upon our funeral shrouds,
the legacy of our bright despair.

May 30, 2005

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Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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