Category Archives: Ethel Mortenson Davis

An Artist that Uses the Color Blue

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

 The first pictures
 of the earth from space
 showed a blue and white jewel
 shining out of the blackness.
  
 It was like seeing
 patches of blue in the sky
 after a difficult storm,
 blue patches
 that gave us hope,
  
 or seeing rare blue flowers
 on an ancient forest floor,
 or the sparse blue iris —
 a surprise
 in the dry desert.
  
 Blue is the color of promise,
 the color of hope. 

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October Sumac

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Christmas

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

 We dropped her off
 after the Christmas program.
 Snow was on the ground.
 The night was cold.
  
 We waited, with
 our car running,
 for her to get inside.
  
 But,
 instead of going
 in the front door,
 she scurried up
 a wooden ladder
 that was placed outside
 to an upstairs bedroom.
  
 Faster than a blink of an eye
 she went,
 faster than we ran up                
 our own stairs at home.
   

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The Racing Clouds of Winter

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Heart of the Evening

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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All of Us

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

we cannot go
to another planet,
to another earth
in another solar system.
 
We are too late for that,
too far away.
 
Instead, we must
sit down, you and I,
and look into each other’s eyes,
our arms embracing,
before we can save
any of us.
Window

			

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In the Time of Covid

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The old men
 are dreaming bad dreams.
 The rain will not fall
 on our land.
 Even the deep water
 stays away.
  
 I yearn for the earth
 to give us her blessing,
 her sanction,
 so we can harvest
 the oats and rye again,
  
 so I can run
 to the far field
 to wrap my arms around
 the face of my horse
 and dream good dreams. 

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The Telling Dream

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

In my dream
it was nighttime.
I was in a muddy field
overlooking a large city
with bright lights.
The field was enclosed
with barbed wire,
and there was a herd of cattle
within the enclosure.
  
The cattle were not really cattle,
but were members of my family.
They were up  
to their bellies in mud,
unable to move.
Hundreds of poisonous frogs
were climbing onto the cattle,
killing them with their bites.
  
This was a foretelling,
a story of betrayal
and pain,
a story of survival 
and transcendence,
an ancient story.
  
Come over here
and sit down by this tree,
and I will tell you this story.
It is a story of my life 
and yours.

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Separation

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

At birth,
the farmer separated
the calf from its mother.
He wiped away
the amniotic fluid
with a gunny sack
before putting him
in a separate pen.
 
Black children born
to enslaved parents were
taken from their weeping mothers
and moved hundreds of miles away.
 
Native children
were snatched from anxious parents
and moved to some miserable life.
 
A Central American baby
Is ripped from its mother’s arms.
Both baby and mother’s spirits
are broken.
 
The farmer’s wife protested,
“keep the calf with its mother.
Do you need every ounce of milk?”
 
“This is the way we do things,”
replied the farmer.

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The New Calves

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The new calves
are growing stiff
from the wetness of birth,
 
and old men
come running across the fields
asking,
who killed our
apple-blossom time?
 
I say to them,
surely dead leaves
can’t grow in your pockets now.

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