New Mask

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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At A Kellogg Foundation Meeting in Mesa, Arizona

By Thomas Davis

He was a big man in Arizona
And sincere.
We were in Mesa, Arizona during the winter at a meeting
Sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation,
Tribal college Presidents and administrators, students, Board members, and faculty.
The white man in the tailored black suit
Had shown up and was invited up front to speak.
The Foundation wanted the mainstream universities and tribal colleges to work together with a common purpose.

The Chancellor of the University was careful and polite to begin with,
But then, as if he couldn’t quite help himself, he said:
“You know, I really don’t know what you people want.”
He gestured toward the crowd of Indian eyes and faces.
“I mean, the University of Arizona has developed programs
And reached out to the Reservations
Since signing of the treaties.”

The crowd of tribal college presidents and the others there
Didn’t say anything, didn’t move, didn’t clap, but looked interested and polite.
He clearly didn’t understand what Indian people needed.

Note: This is a poem from the tribal college movement. The incident happened a long time ago.

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Patch of Life

a photograph by Alazano, Kevin Davis, our son

Patch of Life

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Creativity

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

to: Standing Feather

When we become
the most fragmented,
the most broken,
or so we think,
we step
onto the track,
the furrow
that is the circle
of the universe.

It is a river
that pulls us along,
connecting us
to something greater
than ourselves,
to the great spiral,
to the circle dance of the honey bee.

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As Power Layers Over Power

A song by Thomas Davis

I thought I’d post a song from a play that I am writing. This is a first draft effort. I have one scene to go to finish the first draft. Called “A Gathering of Ravens”, the play is set in a mythical kingdom called Montrose and has a collection of wizards, witches, and kings. I haven’t written a play since our years in Carlton, Minnesota, so I have been enjoying the process

As power layers over power,
The world feels how the weirding shower
Of fates dance on the precipice
Of change, the whirling genesis
Where human will and human courage
Confront the powers that discourage
The dreams of what humanity
Can be if only sanity
Wraps power, hate, and fear with songs
That heal wounds festering from wrongs.

As power layers over power,
The world feels how the weirding shower,
Derived from flows that weakness stirs
In spirits craving power’s burrs,
Sings songs as dark as raven wings,
As frightening as the hate of kings.
We sing sweet songs of love and peace
As chaos dances, is released.

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In the Land of Sprites, Pixies, and Faeries

a photograph by Sonja Bingen
Land of Sprites, pixies, and fairies 2

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Red LikeYoung Girls’ Cheeks

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Rosy-red crab apples lay
on the ground in front of us
as we walked in the chilled air
near a forested lake.

Fifty years ago
the same red crab apples
were picked up
by a college student
as she strung them
on a string around her neck.

She knew this was a beginning
of the path she would follow,
a path centering herself to the earth.

This also was a period of darkness
where a string of blackness
would catch her in a trap.

But there were people
like the shepherd mother
of the small dorm where she stayed
who taught her
there were good and trustworthy people:

apples that lay at our feet,
red like young girls’ cheeks
in the chilled fall air.

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