Category Archives: poems

John Looker Reviews Meditation on Ceremonies of Beginnings

The High Window is an important poetry review site dedicated to covering international poetry in Great Britain. The High Window just published a major review by the British poet John Looker, artwork by Ethel Mortenson Davis, and poems from Meditation on Ceremonies of Beginnings published by Tribal College Press, written by Thomas Davis. This is just a stunning issue of the website, at least from where I sit in the universe.

The link to the website is: https://thehighwindowpress.com/2021/04/27/thomas-davis-river-of-people/?fbclid=IwAR3F5LB_pDFwhf2t7x5ei8JLBpriz1MdfJEdWA3MdsB3zVRN4gKGdx3CirQ

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Mirror

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Because we walked
to the edge of the water,
a loon surprised us
with two young
clinging on her back—
geometric black and white spots
on top of a still,
early morning mirror.

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Bullet Train

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

There is a bullet train
speeding through our town,
our country,
with the letters CRISIS
written on it.

We cannot put
our arm out
to catch it,
or wrap our legs around it
to hold on to it.

With lightning fastness,
it is melting the ice
at the poles,
changing the seas forever.

It is ripping apart
the land around it
with drought, flood and wildfire,
diminishing wildlife and songbirds.

Like a giant spring,
loaded and set
to snap at our face,
it will take out
the whole eye of the world.

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Heaven

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Wolf moon
 with yellow-green eyes,
 slipping between trees,
 slipping from heaven.
  
 Timber wolf
 with yellow-green eyes,
 slipping between trees,
 slipping between exploding bullets-
  
 heaven slipping between
 our fingers. 

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In Memory of Juno

Poem and pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

 Dog
 The way you buried
 your nose in my hand
 made me unable to forget you
 that cold morning
 at daybreak.
  
 Skin and bones you were.
 Perhaps a boot to your neck,
 or starvation
 sent you fleeing to my gate,
 asking for help.
  
 So I let you in.
   

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About Being Lost

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

 As a different species,
 you were there
 in the beginning,
 leading the toddler
 clinging to the long hairs
 on the ruff of your neck
 out of the vast corn field 
 and into the arms of frantic parents.
  
 Then, in midlife,
 you led us
 out of the western wilderness
 back to the road—
 how glad we were
 to find a way out.
  
 Now, in old age,
 you are disappearing
 from our lives—
 a little each day,
 as a new wilderness
 looms on our horizon.
  
 Who will lead us back 
 to the road now? 

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What Hope Is

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

I’ll tell you
 what hope is.
 It’s not going
 to the grocery store
 and getting yelled at 
 for bringing your
 screaming son along
 and then next week
 doing it again.
  
 It is breaking through
 the thick cloak that surrounds him
 and finding a small increment
 of communication,
 reaching down into
 the cylinder of autism
 and pulling out
 shafts of light. 

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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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Christmas Day: Sledding on the Mountain

by Thomas Davis

 We drove Grand Mesa’s unpaved, snow-packed roads
 Around its hairpin curves until the banks
 Of drifts were high enough to stop the plows.
 Grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins slammed
 Car doors and shouted so their voices echoed off
 The slopes and cliffs that soared into the sky.
 Then “food enough to feed an army,” sleds,
 Toboggans came from car trunks as the day’s
 Festivity spilled out into the winter cold.
 My Dad and Uncle dug into the snow
 To make a fire with driftwood, branches found 
 Down in the canyon as we’d driven by 
 The stream that gurgled songs beneath the ice.
  
 Then, looking down the road toward a bank
 That lurched uphill before a hairpin curve,
 The oldest of my cousins laughed and jumped
 Onto her sled, her head downhill, and slid
 Like lightning flashed into a coal-black sky:
 The slope so steep she flew, the hill of white
 A half mile down as solid as a wall,
 The road beneath her hard and slick as ice. 
  
 Her mother, Aunt Viola, laughed to see 
 Her fly toward the snowbank wall as I
 Could hardly breathe to see the tragedy
 Unfolding as the sunlight glared into my eyes.
 My eyes began to hurt.  She had to crash
 Or slam into the wall of snow so hard
 She wouldn’t be my cousin anymore.
  
 But, as she hurtled down toward her doom,
 She dragged her legs behind the racing sled
 And turned the blades before she hit the hill,
 And everybody who had come to watch
 Began to yell when she rolled off the sled,
 Popped to her feet and shot her arm into the air.
  
 When, after other cousins dared the hill,
 I hesitated, swallowing to see 
 The downhill slope, my younger brother jumped
 Ahead of me and joined into the fun.
 I stood above my sled and felt my heart
 Quail, staring down toward the distant bank
 That still seemed solid as a concrete wall.
  
 I froze and couldn’t move until my Dad, 
 Behind me, got me on my sled and pushed
 Me off as cold and snow and light became
 A blur of flying, flying down the road.
 I flared my legs behind the hurtling sled
 And tried to slow down as I turned the blades,
 The running sound beneath my stomach, snow
 A cloud of ice as I rolled off the sled
 And came up, sunk in snow up to my hips,
 And shouted with my arm up in the air. 

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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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