Religion as a Whiteness

by Thomas Davis

They fought religion as a whiteness, probed
To find a way inside their lives to let
The genius centered by His love, light robed
With justice, free slaves from the numbing threat
Dredged from the God of thunder who had touched
The white race with superiority and rights
That forged the chains that bound free spirits clutched
With anguish felt through years of days and nights.

The abolitionists reached out and tried
To build invisible, faint trails the god
Of whiteness couldn’t find since he denied
The wrongs done in his name and lived a fraud
That failed to comprehend that souls of men
Could see his Christianity as sin.

Note: A sonnet from the novel, In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams I am submitting to University of Wisconsin Press.

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Snow Falling on a Winter’s Woods

a photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis

IMG_0380

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Presentation

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The young father
bound
his newborn daughter
across his chest
and then slipped on his skis.

This was a cold February
in the land of lakes and trees
with dancing green lights.

Here he connected,
just as his ancestors
before him connected,
to the starry night,

just as his daughter
will someday bind
her infant
across her heart,
presenting a new life
under the milky-green
foam of stars,

under the great tail
of the Milky Way Galaxy
above her shoulders.

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Early Winter Off the Door Peninsula

photograph by Sonja Bingen

Early Winter Lake Michigan

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Upon the Edge of Sanity and Fear

by Thomas Davis

The edge where sanity and fear collide
Whirls passions that are uncontrollable
Into events that spark events that tide
Across the barriers of shores and scull
Destruction, pestilence, a flood of woe
Fermented in assumptions drawn from trials
That litter through all human lives and flow
Like water over hopes, beliefs, denials,

And on the edge, in ferment’s shifting shape,
Decisions ratchet back and forth; dreams lure
The spirit as dire consequences scrape
Against the future suddenly obscure
Enough to paralyze the strength from hands
That long to civilize the hinterlands.

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How to Dress on a Winter Day

a photograph by Sonja Bingen
How to Dress on a Winter Day

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Celestial Bird: A Poem

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

One
became caught
last night
in my net.

This morning
I untangled him —
eyes true and bright,
magnificent iridescent feathers,
and a warm beating heart
that stayed in my hand
as I threw him up into the air
so he could
continue his flight
across the universe.

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