Category Archives: poems

Poetry Hall Chinese American Poetry

Ethel Mortenson Davis has two poems in the new issue of Poetry Hall, an English/Chinese journal that is available in the United States and and China. A Chinese scholar translated Ethel’s poems, and they appear in English and Chinese. You can order the journal at amazon. It’s really inexpensive. The title of Ethel’s poems are “The Room” and “Snow Goose.” “Snow Goose” was written when we joined Francha Barnard in Egg Harbor at the library for a session on writing Ekphrastic poetry!Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 8.14.29 AM.png

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Seed

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

A Vision

Out of the fire,
with the splitting
of the cone,
a seed emerges.
Thunderstorms
bring it to the soil.
A new tree begins
it’s rapture.

Out of the fire
we have found
new pathways,
a new vision.
We bring the least of us
along in our wagons.
There are no slaves or rich men.

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The Roots of Trees

by Thomas Davis

Crawl down into the roots of trees,
and you will find fungi there,
and water drawn from the soil,
and chemicals will be carrying messages
to other root systems that lead
to other trees
that rise above the ground
and leave their messages into the sky
as they draw in breaths and sunshine
in order to convert energy
into bark, branches, and roots.

While you are underground,
be sure to feel the solidity of earth,
the movements that communicate
soil and rock are as alive
as the trees that tell each other
of danger
of opportunity
of when it is time for an old mother
to at last allow her progeny
to start growing toward the light.

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The Slowing

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

There comes a time,
when there is a slowing,
when the snow is too heavy
and too deep,

when I cannot put
the black harness
on the back of my little horse,
so I must walk it back
to the tack-room
through thigh-high drifts,

and that is when I catch
a glimpse of her
through the open barn door.
She is munching a mound of hay
from last summer’s days,
and it is the sound of happiness.

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Bramble, the literary magazine

Ethel and I guest edited the latest issue of Bramble, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets publication. Ethel’s art is on the cover. We want to thank by Christine Kubasta and Tori Welhouse for their help. This was a great experience, and we hope lots of people will look and see what fantastic poets Wisconsin has! If you want copies you can order them from amazon now, or you can read the entire issue online!

https://www.wfop.org/bramble-lit-mag

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Mammals

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

They tried to tell us
you didn’t have souls—
but I knew better.

Your eyes showed it.
Your sense of humor
spoke it.

The way you took care
of your young
screamed it.

They tried to tell us
you didn’t have souls,
but I knew better.

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Print

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Winter, with bellowing cheeks,
blew and spat ice and snow
across the fields and streams,
across the woods and sides of lakes,
leaving a jagged and spiked print—

Like the Australian Aborigine
who puffed out his cheeks
and spat minerals
across his hand
in a cave on a wall,
leaving his print for humanity.

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Review of Under the Tail of the Milky Way Galaxy

Carolyn Kane, the author of an award winning novel, Taking Jenny Home, a Professor Emeritus of English at Culvert-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, just reviewed Ethel’s book, Under the Tail of the Milky Way Galaxy, for the Peninsula Pulse.  The review can be read here:

https://doorcountypulse.com/review-under-the-tail-of-the-milky-way-galaxy-by-ethel-mortenson-davis.

In the review Kane says that “Davis’ poems might be described as extended haiku because their images are sharp and spare, and because they contain the element of contrast that a reader should expect in a well-crafted haiku.”  It is a wonderful review.

Underthewaycover.jpg

 

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Poetry

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

I will call you dignity.
You are my mother.
You elevate our character.
And I will call you generosity;
you are my father.
You give us a largeness
that frees us from small meanness.

As for you, humanity,
I will call you lost.
Remember when you said,
“What good is poetry?”
“I cannot shape it into a vessel
and drink water out of it.”
“I cannot form it into a purse
and hold my money in it.”

Now, my lost one,
you have fallen into a hole.
You are on your hands and knees,
calling in the darkness
for your mother and father,
calling for poetry to be written.

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Should Poets Only Sing of Love and Light?

a sonnet by Thomas Davis

What responsibility do poets
assume once they have started writing verse?
Walking through the universe inchoate
has been rejected when their words immerse
them in the streams of dreams, emotions, thoughts
taking shape upon an empty page
and reaching out to other spirits caught
in living’s fears, hopes, love, joys, dread, and rage.

Should poets only sing of love and light?
Images that burn the retina like a flash
of lightning streaking through a sky’s black night?
Or is there reason for their lifetime’s cache
of words to speak of justice, truth, destruction,
the possibility of life’s extinction?

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