by Ethel Mortenson Davis

For my final journey
I would like to take
a sleigh ride
through snow-laden roads
where branches are bent low,

a ride
behind a matched pair
of Belgian horses
whose gait becomes regal
when they begin to trot,
and bells on black harnesses
make music with the dance.

You came that day
with horses and a stoneboat
to pick us up at school.
All that day it snowed,
and at noon we ate our soup in jars
warmed on the wood stove.

You took our cousins home,
your brother’s–the one
you never saw eye to eye with–
and dropped them
within a quarter of a mile
of their house.

The stoneboat became
a glider on top of the snow,
and at home you left it behind
the shed until spring
and rock-picking time
when the earth heaves up rocks,
and we heaved up stones
too heavy for girls
on to the stoneboat.

For my final journey
I would like to take
a sleigh ride
behind two Belgians.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

12 responses to “Stoneboat

  1. Caddo Veil

    I figured out the word I’ve been searching for, which applies to your work: reverential. I always feel a hush within me, and that I should whisper.

  2. I agree with Caddo Veil. I heard this, as I read, spoken in a quiet undemanding tone. In a voice that cast a spell over the listener, the speaker made me wish I had two Belgians harnessed to that sleigh. You have any furs to wrap up in? I can heat some stones for our feet. There’s room for Thomas too, of course.

  3. Angela

    Just these lines:

    “For my final journey
    I would like to take
    a sleigh ride”

    speak volumes of bright snowfalls from the soul. Beautiful!

  4. I agree with all the comments above… this poem gives me the sense of being both in the world of details and daily life, and being in a spiritual world where one should be quiet and observe.

  5. And I also agree with Caddo and the others above. There is a sacredness to your words, Ethel – in looking back to the past and applying it to the future with an almost whispered, almost prayerful poem of many layers – and great depth and spirituality. This is just beautiful, leaving snowy tracks on my mind….

  6. Anna Mark

    This poem is quiet. I loved reading it. It has me wondering what I’d like for my final journey…

  7. A beautiful reflection…to leave this mortal existence on a sleigh over the quietness and softness of snow, coldness like a carress, destination framed invitingly by God’s hand.

  8. When you take that sleigh ride “where branches are bent low”, be sure to sit low…

  9. A beautiful poem, it conveys a deep sense of tranquility.

  10. Probably utterly inappropriate, but into my mind’s eye came … “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. Something about the atmosphere of your poem, I think.

  11. Pingback: Announcing 2011 Soul-Song Awards « One-In-Creation

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