The Story

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

This morning
my black dog
found a story
in the grasses.
She sat down,
lingered and mulled
over it,
relishing every detail
and every character.

I hope that people
will linger and mull
over my poems
I could envision
them being copied
and recopied
on exquisite parchment
by cloistered monks…

But if not,
the joy
is in the playing
of the stringed instrument
and riding its vibrations
out and across
the face of the moon,
lingering and mulling
over its details.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

34 responses to “The Story

  1. That is so beautiful.a lovely wish I hope it is made so for you.

  2. Great Metaphors. I also liked how you made them transition from the literal to the imaginative. “…riding its vibrations out and across the face of the moon…”

  3. I agree: beautiful – and great metaphors. It’s also amusing and self-deprecating, with the implied image of the poem left as a series of smells in the grass from which others may sniff out the story! My nostrils are still tingling!

  4. I love this poem, the wistfulness is clear as the grasses you describe. Well done!

  5. Caddo Veil

    Well, I love this of course, every bit of it! I recognize the hope mentioned, yet oddly, I don’t seem to think about that anymore…the way I do the latter portion of the poem, “riding the vibrations across the face of the moon, lingering and mulling over details”–that is my meat on poem-writing evenings!! God bless you muchly!

  6. Oh, you have me flying right over the moon’s craters right now,Ethel. Oops, I almost dropped my lute! To think your black dog’s story in the grass inspired this! WOW! And I thought MY dog was gifted!

  7. Julie Catherine

    Ethel, this is a delightful poem and I love it. It’s amazing where and how our creative ideas are birthed. As long as we nurture them in the ‘now’; like a dog mulling over its prize or a cloistered monk penning beloved verse on aged parchment, the journey of our own words will vibrate and echo throughout the universe long after we have passed through our time. Beautifully written. ~ Julie 🙂

  8. dfb

    Once again, Ethel has written some meaningful and profound lines.

  9. This is so great, from beginning to end! I love how it went from your dog smelling a “story in the grasses” to the more ethereal vibrations “out and across the face of the moon”. Lovely, wistful ending!

  10. Anna Mark

    I love this poem which speaks to me about that constant voice I have in my mind as I write, the inner audience or critic, and how, in the end, I come to rest in simply enjoying the process of writing and the words themselves. Lovely.

  11. Oona Hays

    Yes! This poem is quite stunning. The last stanza so lyrical… and it brings you back to what the true joy and impulse really is. Well done.

  12. This poem is fabulous!!

    I am going to print it to keep



  13. In this country the term ‘black dog’ is sometimes used as a euphemism for depression.

    So I read the poem from that perspective and found it worked really well.

    And I agree with you totally – the joy is in the journey!!


  14. Our (fawn) dog is a great reader of tales in the grasses, too: unfortunately, he literally consumes them, and they’re not necessarily suitable material. I love your image, and how you then translate it in the second stanza; I especially like ‘copied and recopied on exquisite parchment by cloistered monks’, having seen the medieval illuminated manuscripts at the British Library in London last week. What higer tribute could there be to one’s work, I wonder. But I’m with you, and David; for me this is about ‘being a writer’, not ‘having written.’ A wonderful piece, as always. N.

  15. Let us hope satisfaction be found sometime very soon, most-worthy-of- recognition, Ethel…

  16. .. but still in the creating. Ethel

  17. Oh, I wish for the same thing, too! But yes, I agree, the journey makes the destination worthwhile.

    Love this!

  18. A beautiful piece. I love its message and admire its artful presentation.

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