The Telling Dream

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

In my dream
it was nighttime.
I was in a muddy field
overlooking a large city
with bright lights.
The field was enclosed
with barbed wire,
and there was a herd of cattle
within the enclosure.
  
The cattle were not really cattle,
but were members of my family.
They were up  
to their bellies in mud,
unable to move.
Hundreds of poisonous frogs
were climbing onto the cattle,
killing them with their bites.
  
This was a foretelling,
a story of betrayal
and pain,
a story of survival 
and transcendence,
an ancient story.
  
Come over here
and sit down by this tree,
and I will tell you this story.
It is a story of my life 
and yours.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

Separation

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

At birth,
the farmer separated
the calf from its mother.
He wiped away
the amniotic fluid
with a gunny sack
before putting him
in a separate pen.
 
Black children born
to enslaved parents were
taken from their weeping mothers
and moved hundreds of miles away.
 
Native children
were snatched from anxious parents
and moved to some miserable life.
 
A Central American baby
Is ripped from its mother’s arms.
Both baby and mother’s spirits
are broken.
 
The farmer’s wife protested,
“keep the calf with its mother.
Do you need every ounce of milk?”
 
“This is the way we do things,”
replied the farmer.

2 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

The New Calves

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The new calves
are growing stiff
from the wetness of birth,
 
and old men
come running across the fields
asking,
who killed our
apple-blossom time?
 
I say to them,
surely dead leaves
can’t grow in your pockets now.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

New Cover for my new book of poetry was just finalized!

Meditations on the Ceremonies of Beginnings is a book of poetry developed over decades as I played my small role in the tribal colleges and universities and world indigenous nation’s higher education consortium movements. Tribal College Press has announced it will be released in late November. The cover design just came in! The drawing is by Ethel Mortenson Davis.

You’ll have to enlarge to cover to read the writing, but I am especially excited about what Carrie Billy, one of the great leaders of the tribal college and university movement, and Kimberly Blaeser, on the most important Native American poets in the United States, say about the book.

5 Comments

Filed under poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis

Enough

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

This last,
fading light
is enough
to carry us
across the field,
across the world,
 
enough
to lift us
from ourselves,
our mitered lives
in this small changeling
of a disappearing evening.

2 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

A Frog and A Pelican

Two photographs by Sonja Bingen

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Photography

Places We Recognize

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

When we are
desperate
and can’t recognize
the world,
we climb
into words,
grasp letters,
covet paragraphs
to find
smallness.
 
When we are
desperate
we go to this
small garden
to gather ourselves
in the act of
cleaning away dying plants —
to repeat our worth —
in places we recognize,
like the wounded fox
that crawls 
into the small culvert.

2 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

The Reaching

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

3 Comments

Filed under Art, Art by Ethel Mortenson Davis, Ethel Mortenson Davis

Four Windows Press Publishes Door County Poets Collective Anthology

The Door County Poets Collective has released its newest book, Halfway to the North Pole! A unique poetry anthology, it’s available at Sturgeon Bay’s bookstores and through either Write On Door County or fourwindowspress1.com. It is published by Four Windows Press, the small publishing company Ethel and I own.

There are a lot of Door County’s most important poets represented in the book as well as other poets that have been loyal visitors over the years. Estella Lauter, the instigator of the Collective, in her “Preface” describes the theme of the anthology: “We hope these poems, while providing some anchors in parts of the County you know, will introduce you to places, people, and issues you haven’t noticed and might want to know better on your own: places like Mud Lake, Three Springs, Bjorklunden, Mojo Rosa’s; people like Increase Claflin or Norbert Blei; efforts to bring back the Monarch Butterflies, preserve the night sky, cut or treat infected ash trees, keep the Boreal forest. Door County is not only a beautiful place where culture and nature support each other; it is also a complex community of people and other creatures who come together to care for the land and water that sustain our lives in all seasons. Halfway between the hottest and coldest places on earth, we like to think we have the best of both.”

2 Comments

Filed under poems, Poetry

New Logo for a new website

Ethel and I have put up a new website for the small publishing effort, Four Windows Press, we keep developing. Our granddaughter, Phoebe Wood, has come up with a logo for the website, which is located at http://www.fourwindowspress1.com. Ethel likes the logo as a work of art!

15 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized