Men Have Had Their Way With Her

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

It’s been too long
since we last talked.
I must tell you
that men have had
their way with her.

She is hurt and sick,
but keeps giving us gifts,
ignoring their torture
and disrespect.

Today she surprises us
with the white hares.
They hop over each other
making giggling sounds,
laughing at the prairie grasses.

She gives the spring rain
that coaxes green buds.
Soon we will plant
tomato and egg plants.

She gives us seeds to sprout,
not darkness, nor pain,
nor death.

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Wisconsin Spring

Photograph by Sonja Bingen

Wisconsin in Spring

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Nature’s Implacable Force

by Thomas Davis

In North Dakota’s winter frost drives deep
Into the ground, soils compacted tight
Until, in spring, the ground heaves, water seeps
Into the soils, and land begins to write
The story of another spring, the slow,
Implacable force nature heaves and cracks
Into the manmade things, the bravado
Of buildings, pipelines, streets, steel railroad tracks.

Inside an empty field an apple tree
Has grown into the crumbling of a farm.
It stands where once a lively family
Built walls to keep them safe and free from harm.

This pipeline will not ever fail, they say.
It won’t leak. Not a minute. Not a day.

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Sketch

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Sketch

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Sound of Breathing

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

This morning
the wind through the trees
sounded like air
through giant bellows,

like large lungs
breathing in air
and out air,

Like we felt,
next to our mother
as infants,
a great pair of lungs
that we knew somehow was

the source of life.

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Lighthouse in Winter

a photograph by Sonja Bingen, our daughter

lighthouse1

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An Elder’s Prayer

by Thomas Davis

They frack the earth. Drills fly into the soil
And whirl through rock, a stream of chemicals
Shot down into the shale, the oracles
Of business, profit, subjugation, oil
Enraptured by technology, the coil
Inside the engine driving humankind,
The writ of progress, greed, force sealed and signed.
The oilmen say, we need the fracked-up oil.

An elder walks into the winter cold
And kneels beside a frozen lake and lifts
His arms toward dark clouds, his spirit bold
Enough to recognize creation’s gifts.

“The radiance of water, soil, and sky,”
He sang. “Is in a baby’s first-breath cry.”

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