Photographs by Sonja Bingen
by Thomas Davis
Taliesin walked a sparse wood.
Pink and white stones sheered into cliffs.
This was not the wild seacoast where clerics and bards warred,
declaiming words of power,
but a land as dry as Job’s tongue:
“Where shall wisdom be found?”
The bard had stood on a black rock jutting into sea-fury.
He had called mists and forest spirits,
swarming to gestures and words like ghostly raiments,
then walked through a shimmering gate into sweltering skies.
Standing below a tall, red cliff, he sent his spirit
across a dry land and walked,
feeling poetry falter in the great silence.
On a sandstone table he stopped and stared at hairy black spiders.
A thousand scuttled across the red stone in frenzy.
He could not understand spider’s movement’s language.
He could not feel poetry’s spirit ebb and flow
where no coracle boats or sailing ships plied waves.
He studied a turquoise juniper tree’s green flame
and tried to feel how such small trees could walk,
but they seemed rooted in fields of pink and white stone.
Taliesin trudged with his staff through a long day.
Sun blazed; a horned moon, waxing, rose.
The bard’s heart shuddered.
How was he to escape a land where poetry was tenuous?
Where no selkie dived beneath waves into seaweed forests?
He listened: Women’s voices elegant and wild with frenzy –
Men speaking words as strange as the landscape.
A red wolf howled beneath stars and horned moon.
A cold wind blew.
Pinyon, pine, and juniper branches danced and sang.
The bard smiled and raised arms out of his brown robe.
He spoke poetry’s one language to night sky, trees, and wind.
A black rock jutted into a foaming, wind-driven sea.
Note: The is a rewrite of a poem posted a long time ago.
a photograph by Sonja Bingen
by Ethel Mortenson Davis
Before you come
into the wilderness
you must leave
your anger and hate
You must open your heart
and extend your arms
before you can see
the new ground-cover plants
whose leaves feel
like a baby’s skin.
A yellow swallowtail.
She is leading us
through the shaded trees
and wants us to follow.
by Ethel Mortenson Davis
When I was young
I yearned for a pony,
a brown, bushy-maned,
One that I could let
have his head
and taste what freedom
When I was older,
I told everyone
I was going to marry
a man from the West
that owned a horse ranch.
Now I’m getting too old
to ride horses,
but can watch herds
of wild horses
in the West —
if they can keep
from getting caught
and made slaves out of;
they are the freest
of all horses,
who are the freest
of us all.
a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis