The Birds of Heaven

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

There are many times
when our houses
fall down around us,
when no part is left

Then we must pick
the best of the old stones
to build new rooms.

But we must also take
the new maple,
just sawn,
white like the sands
along the Great Lakes,
and build something shining.

We must make brand new gables,
whose attic windows
are left open for birds
to fly through,
the birds of heaven—

and the Barn Owl
who finds shelter
for her life.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

13 responses to “The Birds of Heaven

  1. Love it, especially about the barn owl, one of my favourites. Many thanks. Love, David

  2. This is wonderful, Ethel. May I reblog it at “Ben Naga”? I think its beauty, compassion and wisdom deserve to be appreciated as more widely as possible.

  3. sonjabingen

    Great Poem!

  4. Reblogged this on Ben Naga and commented:
    Pay heed.

  5. Oh so Lovely, so honest, so heartfelt. Wonderful Verse 🙂

  6. extrasimile

    Ethel, hi. I’ve been reading your poems on and off for some years now—along of course with Thomas’s, and this one seem to me one of your best. Such lucidly in that quietly implied syllogism [or ethical insight?] ‘Then we must…’ A didactic sounding poem that somehow spreads its wings—via some fresh sawn white maple —and I’ll bet you its quarter sawn too—into a, not so much the night sky, but a poem/ home in that sky. Miraculous.
    By the way, ‘The birds of heaven and the snowy owl’ is quite an accomplishment: it implies an distinction and then unifies it. [Surely the snowy owl is a bird of heaven.]
    We must build something shinning. Indeed, we must. I wonder why though. Here’s a favorite answer from Wallace Stevens
    ”From this the poem springs: that we live in a place
    That is not our own and, much more, not ourselves
    And hard it is in spite of blazoned days”
    Ethel, your poem has made my day for several days now. Thanks,

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