Category Archives: poems

The Room

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The morning walk
was soaking wet and cold,
water flooding down
the sides of hills.

I wonder if we
will end in water?
Sweeping floods from
an inlet sea
changing the course
of our earth.

Then at the top
of the hill in the forest,
maples in a glorious, gold coat
invited us in.

We opened her door
and stepped into
a fire-lit room,
warming our feet
and hands,
sitting awhile,
until the rain stopped.

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A Letter on the Horizon’s Poem Released Today – Ethel Davis’s New Book

In my opinion this is the best book Ethel Mortenson Davis has published yet.  It contains poems written during her teenage years through all the subsequent time until now.  Poem after poem is a masterpiece.

Kathy Isaacson in her review of the book said:  “Having long wondered who the Rumi of my generation could be, Ethel Mortenson Davis’s poetry similarly soothes and inspires me.  This collection helps us contemplate our relationships with the earth while exploring other companions such as cancer, pain, war, loss of life, and starving horses.  We experience healing with the smell of wild snow, sound of moss clinging to trees, sight of the moon dancing and fireflies whispering.  Ethel’s poetry has accompanied me to a volcano in the New Mexican desert where it was read to the “laughing stars.”  It has been recited to my classroom of wide-eyed students and currently blesses my bedside table.”

I found the book on amazon.com this morning, but not on Barnes and Noble yet.  It was under Ethel Davis, not Ethel Mortenson Davis.  The publisher is Kelsay Books.

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In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams Book Signing

I did a book presentation and signing at Novel Bay Booksellers in Sturgeon Bay today from 2 to 4 p.m. A crowd showed up and a bunch of that novel and other books that I have written sold. Ethel came and took a couple of photographs. Thanks go to John Maggitti and Liz Welter for sponsoring a great event!

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The Kurdish Left Behind

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

On our walk today
a large flock of Canadian geese
rose up into the air.
Then a single call came
from somewhere deep in the woods,
a haunting sound made
by an injured or sick bird,
calling for help.

Migrating geese leave
their injured and sick behind.
Winter overtakes them
and ends their suffering.

It is like the Kurdish people
we left behind today,
or the Central Americans—
they reached for our hands,
crying out through their pain and suffering,
and we turned our backs on them,
left them for their enemies and winter
to finish them off.

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The Last Tiger

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

 He is a great Siberian Tiger,
the last one.
They have him
in a steel cage
with thick grey bars—
there, at the center
of our town.

Sharpened sticks
lie all around him.
He has many wounds,
but there is still fire
in his eyes.

A young girl
comes to the cage,
crying and afraid.
She says,
“You must stop this now.
You must save this animal.
He is the last
of a royal species—
a sacred kind.”

She knew the combination
of the lock and opened
the cage door.
He sprang towards
the light, carrying
with him the girl’s heart.

“Go to the most northern
region of our country.
There the forests
will save and protect you.
There is still yet time.
There is still yet time
to balance God in the universe.”

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The Gatherer

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

He is not just a gatherer
of ripened berries and roots,
plants of every kind,
but he is a gatherer of days
and lights and secret places
where treasures abound.

He’s not just a gatherer
of summer strawberries,
blueberries, and blackcaps,
the northern red cranberries,
but a gatherer of open spaces,
a quiet still hill,
and a meeting at last
of his wild woman.

She is there in the blanket
of golden chanterelles
among the deep pockets
of the forest
where he finally ravishes her
with kisses to her mouth
and blowing hair.

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Beneath the Red Cliffs

by Thomas Davis

for April Chischilly

Beneath red cliffs as first morning light reflects fire
into an impossibly blue sky,
a Navajo woman, aging, calm, long black hair and black eyes
a part of high desert juniper and pinion trees,
walks as beauty stirs backwards and forward in time.

The medicine man in his Hogan’s darkness
sees a woman he doesn’t know through an ancient crystal
handed from medicine man to medicine man
through thousands and thousands of years.
He feels heart-strength, spirit-strength,
sees her facing what is beyond the light’s weaving,
her beauty-song echoing and echoing
into the song of women, the spirit of women
who have forever given birth
and lived through the everyday turmoil of everyday
without flinching, trying to find the courage that is who she is.

Courage weaves a blanket from light out of the woman’s heart
into the texture of red stone.
It rises from the moment when sons were born,
patience was worn away as dreams and hopes were deferred,
as self honesty penetrated weaving consciousness
that tries to protect itself in the interest of shuttling
strength and goodness into the sinews and spirits of children.
Speaking softly, singing beauty, the Navajo woman walks
beneath cliff fire ignited by first light
beneath an impossibly blue sky.

The Navajo woman walks beneath red cliffs
in an impossible blue sky
as first light sets sandstone walls on fire.

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