by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The piñons
have become brittle
in this dry desert heat.

How I yearn
for the sound of water—
a sound of rain
running in rivulets
and then into fast
moving streams,
finally joining
the rushing rivers.

How I’ve yearned
for the blue-green arms
of Lake Superior
to hold me again
with its disordered forests,
with every kind
of fern and moss
dotting its shoreline.

But the giant piñon,
in its fluid dance
toward the sky,
twists and turns
into the deepest
part of us
and gives peace
to our psyches.

The chaos of nature
brings the mind
to order—
the unplanned spacings
of land and water,
keeps the soul
from flying apart.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

8 responses to “Chaos

  1. this is beauty inducing. i particularly love your last stanza. -chaos of nature brings the mind to order- I completely agree.

  2. Caddo Veil

    Wonderful Ethel, all of it–but if I had to choose, the final stanza is my fave. God bless you today. love, Caddo (oh, after I wrote this, I read the first comment–so I wasn’t “copying”)

  3. With all sincerity, you nailed this poem!! Love this line

    “How I’ve yearned
    for the blue-green arms
    of Lake Superior
    to hold me again”

    It just resonates paramount on the idea of how our peace is fulfilled through a natural connection. Emerson once said we understand nature because we see ourselves in miniature.

  4. Wonderful poem, Ethel – and I too love that last stanza that brings relief and understanding to the seeming imbalance of the environment. (Wish we could send you some of our cooling rains…. and mossy trees.)

  5. A gorgeous poem, Ethel. Having just read E. Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire,” the last stanza especially resonates with me. I love when words reach inside, strike some kind of tuning fork in our spirit, and validate some sense we know to be important and true.

  6. Living here in Britain I had to look up ‘piñons’, but even so I could sense the magnificent contrast between the dry desert and the lush lakeside landscape.
    I tried commenting on this poem yesterday, Ethel, but failed to post it. I was interested in the paradox you present at the close: the chaos in nature bringing the idea of order into the mind, and the ‘unplanned’, the wilderness, keeping the soul from flying apart.
    There’s a striking difference here from the Wallace Stevens idea of order arising from the scene at Key West, where the human element had entered the landscape, and I wondered whether you might be tempted to write more poems on this. It is clear from your writing in general how sensitively tuned you are to the natural world, but the human world is never far away in your poems.

  7. “Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet” – as the lovely Hopkins wrote. 🙂 There’s always this great parity between nature, weather, and mood – the ending to this just sings that very notion!

  8. The imagery in this is quite stunnning, Ethel, that last verse so stirring and true!

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