The Road

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Because this night
is so cold and beautiful
with a thin-lipped moon
just above the horizon,
we will walk the road.

The road over there–
that is waiting,
the one that climbs
up into the Zuni Mountains.

A man once said
that my poems
were only scratches on paper.

The light is getting late,
and the dogs are anxious.
The poems are waiting out there
in the wildness
to say and be,



Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

38 responses to “The Road

  1. Scriptor Obscura


  2. sonjabingen

    Your poetry has so much depth. I can’t believe someone would have described them as “scratches on paper”. I have had teachers like over the years as well.

  3. Roads are always a great topic for poetry — Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” and Kerouac’s poetry — “Somewhere along the line I knew there’d be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me.”

  4. Caddo Veil

    Scratches of gold, I’d say–I love the line, “the poems are waiting out there in the wildness”. It gave me a new perspective–I thought I was waiting for poems to come to me, but now I see they’re waiting for me. Excellent–thank you, thank you!

  5. nice to know someone else likes it out there on the ‘road’ …very nice ‘scratches on paper,’ Ethel. I can feel the coldness….how fresh!


  6. Great poem, I love the lines ” The poems are waiting out there in the wildness to say and be,” It is just as if poems and beings , I feel that they are !

  7. Beautiful – as usual, there is a strong sense of intimacy with the landscape, with the land itself.

  8. Thank you, Ethel, for taking us on this walk with you. Like Caddo, it changes my perspective – the poems are out there, waiting for us! And hopefully they’ll meet us half way, some of the time.
    Your imagery is always striking – I love that “thin lipped moon” – among so many others here!

  9. Like Betty said, the “thin lipped moon” really stood out; that’s a “scratch on paper” that I can certainly live with. But I like your re-assessment, that they’re out there to discover. Writing is only limited because language can lack the power to truly capture them; we have to mold the words into the best trap we can.

  10. That man must’ve been mired in the sense that *he* was a mere ‘scratch on paper’ to say such a small thing. We all are, if it comes down to that: I’m grateful that there are those among us who, like you, record the signature of our passing in such soulful ways to undo our tininess.

  11. I so relate to “The poems are waiting out there in the wilderness”. Often when I am lost in the unknown landscape of ever changing life, a poem will come to help me find my way.
    Thank you for taking me places I have never been, and then making them familiar to me.

  12. sometimes I think it’s the simplest ideas that become the most beautiful of poems,… very simply, and very well done

  13. A man once said
    that my poems
    were only scratches on paper. – As good as it gets right there.

  14. Your beauty shining outward in your words, spiritually healing. Thank you.

  15. Like this… Like also the interest you’ve shown in my young nephew’s blog- poignant Boy. Great words of encouragement. I, like you, think he’s very talented.

  16. May I come and walk beside you Ethel.

    I feel I know that road. I certainly never found the poems until after I started walking!

    Beautiful poem


  17. Yes, I often feel the traveling to a poem…the lure of what is yet beyond the horizon, waiting for me to recognize it…and tame it?

    Sometimes one just lets them go…glimpsed but unwritten…

  18. This is so wonderfully true when it says the poems wait out there. And I loved the phrase “thin-lipped moon”: does it smile on us or warn us or simply wait on us?

  19. Anna Mark

    I’m with granbee above, enjoying the phrase, “thin-lipped moon”.

  20. For me, the night is alive. The “waiting” road that climbs is alive and the poems are as much alive as the very animals that dot the wilderness.

  21. Plenty of poetic stimulus in the Zuni Mountains…

  22. Well revealed and smoothly paced. Also, though, it does feel like it could be a longer, more descriptive piece.

  23. tikarmavodicka

    I was completely taken up in the landscape you painted with your words. A gentle reminder too about the process of writing and discovery. You can’t manufacture these moments. They lay outside of us waiting for us to embrace them and travel their road.
    A very beautiful and serene poem.


  24. I love this, Ethel: like you, I think of poems as having a life of their own, a bit like butterflies or other wild creatures we have to go out and try to catch sight of (and, if we can, sweep up in a net and bring home!) I wrote a piece myself back in the summer on just this theme, but yours is much better!

  25. Some thoughts inspired by “The Road”:

    A poem is scratches on the paper

    A road is a scratch on the earth

    A poem is a road

  26. I feel I can relate to this poem especially the lines:
    A man once said that my poems were only scratches on paper.
    It’s all beautifully expressed

  27. Oona Hays

    I feel a connection with the words you write. Deep within.

  28. Lovely poem. To me, this suggests being proud of our individuality – the poems are waiting to be themselves.

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