The Clerk and the Windmill

Several days ago, when I started working on a new poem, the image of an unclaimed trunk waiting on an old wooden train platform arose in my mind. The trunk was big and black and worn, with tarnished rivets, hinges, and clasps. I was sure it belonged in the poem, but after a few failed attempts I was obliged to leave the trunk where it was. I finished the poem without it. It�s a nice poem. But I�m still wondering about the trunk. What�s inside? Why was it left behind? What happened to its owner? And what would happen if I tried to claim it myself? What are the rules pertaining to unclaimed trunks at old train stations with wooden platforms? Does the station clerk hoard them in the back room? I confess, I�m reluctant to ask. The clerk might think I�m too curious about a matter that shouldn�t concern me. He might even think I murdered the owner of the trunk. Then again, couldn�t I think the same about him? I don�t, of course. He�s a congenial sort, with a white mustache, and he�s getting up in years. In fact, he looks like he might have been born in Denmark. Hmm . . . I wonder. What if I were to walk over to the trunk � casually, as if my train won�t be in for hours � and, when no one is looking, rap lightly on the lid? Would there be an answer? I hope so. Because it seems to me that trunk has some explaining to do.

The Clerk and the Windmill

The clerk at the railroad station asked why my trunk was so heavy. I said it was because it was full of poems. He smiled, then told me to show him what was inside. I unlocked the trunk and raised the lid. �I don�t see anything,� he said. �It must be the trunk itself that is so heavy.�

�Believe that if you must,� I said. �I have nothing to hide. Not even that old windmill.�

�Windmill? What windmill?�

�The one in the pasture beside the road,� I said. �Where the cows are drinking.�

The clerk squinted. �Do you mean the road leading to the mountains?�

�Yes,� I said, �that�s the one.� Although the truth is, I hadn�t noticed the mountains there myself. Imagine, missing something as big as a mountain! And so I got into the trunk, and followed the clerk down the road. I was eager to find out where he�d been, and what else he knew.

Note: Poems, Slightly Used, a growing collection of work first published in my blog, Recently Banned Literature, can be found here.

Available from Cosmopsis Books of San Francisco

Winter Poems
by William Michaelian

Winter Poems (click to view cover)

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
US $11.95; $8.95 at Cosmopsis Books
52 pages. 6x9. Paper.
Includes one drawing.
San Francisco, June 2007
Signed, numbered & illustrated copies

Winter Poems displays the skills and abilities of Mr. Michaelian at their most elemental level, at the bone. Wandering amidst a barren world, a world scraped bare, he plucks the full moon like fruit from the winter sky, goes mad and befriends a pack of hungry wolves, burns his poems to keep warm. He is a flake of snow, a frozen old man, a spider spinning winter webs. Spring is only a vague notion of a waiting vineyard, crocuses, and ten-thousand babies. The author is alone, musing, reflecting, at times participating. But not quite alone, for he brings the lucky reader along. I�ve been there, to this winter world, and I plan to go back.

                                                            � John Berbrich, Barbaric Yawp

Another Song I Know � Short Poems
by William Michaelian

Another Song I Know (click to view cover)

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
US $13.95; $10.95 at Cosmopsis Books
80 pages. 6x9. Paper.
Includes Author�s Note.
San Francisco, June 2007
Signed, numbered & illustrated copies

Another Song I Know is a delightful collection of brief, resilient poems. Reading them, one by one by one, is like taking a walk through our common everyday world and suddenly hearing what the poet hears: the leaves, a coffee cup, chairs � and yes, even people, singing their songs of wisdom, sweetness, and light.

                                                            � Tom Koontz, Barnwood poetry magazine

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

Main Page
Author�s Note
A Listening Thing
Among the Living
No Time to Cut My Hair
One Hand Clapping
Songs and Letters
Collected Poems
Early Short Stories
Armenian Translations
Cosmopsis Print Editions
News and Reviews
Highly Recommended
Let�s Eat
Favorite Books & Authors
Useless Information
Flippantly Answered Questions
E-mail & Parting Thoughts

Poetry, Notes & Marginalia:
Recently Banned Literature

Collected Poems by William Michaelian
A Larger Life
Monastery of Psalms
Friends (includes French translation)
Summer of Dreams
Is It His Coat?
The Boy Who Wrote Letters
Forty Days, Forty Nights
Papa�s Song (clam chowder blues)
The Pilgrim�s Way
A Christmas Wish
The Teacher
The Literary Awakening of America
The Healer
The Enigmatic Child
What Happened to God
Reading Tristram Shandy
A Prefix of Obscure Meaning
He Knows
My Only Friend
The World I Know
We Do Not Need a Poem
Three Short Poems
The More We Are Looking For
I Hear the Earth
What Will I Give You?
Great Minds Think Alike
The Age of Us All
I Met My Spirit
Claim Denied
Summer Days
Greek Peppers
Another Hard Day
James Joyce Singing
How Many Stones?
At the Armenian Home
The Peace Talks
The Eggs of March
Armenian Music
If Poems Were Days
Once Again I Lied
One Last Thing
Everywhere I Go
Up Here On the Hill
Winter View
What December Said to January
Winter Poems
Spring Haiku
How to Write a Poem, In Three Lessons
The Walls Have Ears
Why I Don�t Buy Grapes
To French Vanilla and All the Other Flavors
It Was
Early Morning Haiku
Someone�s Mother
Fall Questions
My Old Black Sport Coat
Roadside Distress, Part 2
Magical Realism (First Prize)
Caf� Poetry Night: Two Poems
Short Poem for Spring
Short Poem for Summer
I Find Him Eating Butterflies
For the Sister I Never Had
An Absurdist Play
The Second Act

Of Poets and Other Things

Top of Page