by Ethel Mortenson Davis

In the early morning
Orion is already setting
In the western sky.
I follow it,
getting closer
to the spring equinox,
pointing north past
the north star.

The north,
where spring first appears
in bunches of wild leeks,
the first green in the forest,
dug up by deer
for their delectable bulbs.
Then a carpet of
spring beauties and anemones follow,
flooding the forest floor.

It was there
where you laid your head
in a bed of wild flowers.
The fiddle-head ferns
were just unwinding
and in a month
would reach our shoulders.

It was there,
where you wore
bells on your hips
so as not to surprise
the black bear with cubs
and the gray timber wolf
on his trek across the land.

Now Orion sets in the southwest,
pointing toward spring.
I will plant corn this year,
perhaps on the western side
of the garden.

© 2010, I Sleep Between the Moons of New Mexico.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

20 responses to “Orion

  1. eremophila

    Gentle observations, painting the scenes eloquently.

  2. Caddo Veil

    I wonder, Ethel, if your voice is truly and naturally “quiet”, or whether that is something I only hear in your poems? Would you consider offering us an audio reading, like Thomas has–so we can know the voice that is you? Sending love and prayers to you. God bless you abundantly.

  3. Oona Hays

    Spring is showing her veil here in the NW too and I am particularly feeling it this year. This poem speaks to me so very much. There is a woven web of feeling and mystery through the whole cosmos, from star to animal and flower. The other day I was waling in the woods and spotting green shoots where the winter bareness was. My thoughts went to how does the earth know when it is time to spring into spring…how much we have lost of this deep inner knowledge. Perhaps this is my own trail of thought, but your poem speaks to me.

  4. Beautiful, vivid images – I love this, Ethel!

  5. Anna Mark

    What a beautiful image of memory, remembering and then planting …something beautiful grows from the places where we lay our heads.

  6. What an amazing thought. The celestial bodies are incredible inspiration, and you have gathered it magically

  7. Always a pleasure to read your poetry, Ethel! You are an inspiration. 🙂

  8. Sonja

    My mom does have a quiet voice and has always been connected with nature in a special way.

  9. There is something deep here that I cannot fathom !

  10. Yes, I agree, this is a lovely poem. I don’t know these North American plants but I can certainly picture them from your lines.
    Also, it’s a fascinating poem – we’re looking up at Orion but down at the spring plants and flowers, back into the past (“It was there …” – beautifully nostalgic) but forward to the imminent spring and the planting of corn – and yet also to several points of the compass.
    I love the complexity underneath the simplicity!

  11. Spectacular, possibly my favorite of yours. Reminds me of Mary Oliver and Gary Snyder, with its lush, straightforward observation that ties directly into the past and the future at once.

  12. I find the gentleness in the poem very relaxing.

    We too are moving into Spring and I hope to be able to walk in the Bluebell woods soon.


  13. So many memories of wonderful woodland treks, so many plans for nourshing garden crops, so wonder in the movements of Orion as full spring equinox approaches. I am dancing in the ferns and the daisies and digging in the earth, while squinting out between the nearby tree trunks!

  14. Julie Catherine

    A beautiful, gentle, tranquil write, Ethel, I love this. ~ Julie xox

  15. Pleasant poem, spring season returns. But, the thought of cute little Bambi having leek bulb halitosis kinda bursts my bubble. Tee! Hee!

  16. Breathtakingly beautiful, Ethel! All of it had me expectantly moving along with your walk of words through the spring fresh forest…

    ‘The north,
    where spring first appears
    in bunches of wild leeks…’

    …made me think of the wild leeks poking up all over my north lawn…just noticed them yesterday.

  17. Beautiful atmosphere you create here, Ethel.

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