Category Archives: Ethel Mortenson Davis

Escape

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Anytime

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Sometimes I want to go to you
but remember that I have
put you in a special room
far from here,
a room, nonetheless,
with an open door,
so that I can enter
anytime.

So, I can see
your smile when you
were running with Shiva,
the golden lab,
through autumn leaves
in a special forest
long ago.
So, I can walk through that door
anytime.

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Landscape with Birds

pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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BUTTERFLY MAN

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Sleeping Horse

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Moon

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The moon is most beautiful
at her beginning, or end.
Like a fine-edged sickle
punctuating the blackness.

Minimal.
A lot like you.
Not outstanding.
Almost missed.
Nevertheless beautiful.

Step outside with me.
We’ll see her
from the steps.
Let your skin
touch the cold.

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Marriage by the Inland Sea

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Sea Turtle

A pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Orchid Dancer

After the wedding between Sophia Wood and Erik Saucedo

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Story of the Marriage of Two Souls

The orchid dancer
worried all night
that the storm
would keep the two souls
from being married.

But the jumping waters
that dance into the sky
did not come.
The love of the village
was so great that it
pushed back the whirling winds.

The two souls were
finally married,
and everyone celebrated
long through the night.

An eagle had flown over
earlier that day
and told us it would be so.

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Sophia and Erik’s Wedding

At our granddaughter Sophia's wedding, Ethel wrote one poem for the wedding that she read out loud during the ceremony.  A friend of our daughter Mary read another poem by Ethel that was written 55 years ago during our courtship.  Then, at the reception I sat down and wrote a poem commemorating the event as the mariachi band played and people people danced as sunlight streamed out of the clouds for the first time all day.

The poem Ethel read:

Hope

Dear Grandmother,

today your great, great granddaughter
is getting married
to a fine, young man,
and they promise their love
is greater than their parents’ love
and their grandparents’ love.
They promise they will be happier
than their parents were
or their grandparents.
And they promise their children
will be loved more than all 
the ancestors put together.

Dear Grandmother,

this is their promise,
and this is our hope.


The poem from 55 years ago:

How Could I Know?

It looks to me as though
you’ve been around, perhaps,
since time began—
and I have lived at least
as long.

Oh? Only that much time?

I’m sure there was no life
before for you or me.
How could I know your face
so well?

As well as some old rock
I’ve seen hang, clinging
to a mountain wall,

and I know what wave of brightness,
or of darkness, to expect there
waiting for me.

You step and make some rounded move.
I know beforehand which way to go.

How could I know?  Unless. . .
You’ve been around, perhaps,
since time began.

I know I’ve lived at least as long.


The poem I wrote:

At My Granddaughter’s Wedding

First the bald eagle above the bay,
water dancing light on lines of waves,
then cranes in the greening field,
Babies and parents communicating 
with legs, moving necks, and wings in the sun,
and then the rumor of storms
brewing black clouds in the north,
stirring with big winds.

But then, after a night of worry,
the ceremony was to be outside,
the wedding day came, cloudy,
a fifty percent chance of rain.

But then the rain didn’t come.
Wedding roses lined paths
to the small wooden church.
Then, the words as ancient 
as human spirits, were spoken
by the bride and groom,

and then the sun came out
as the mariachi celebration began,
as clouds thinned,
and my granddaughter and her love danced
as music rose into an evening sky—

and love was everywhere.
Everywhere.

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