Category Archives: Thomas Davis

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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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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Filed under Art, Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis

Podcast 7 of Tribal College History

The Tribal College Journal has just published podcast 7 of Christine Reidhead’s sessions with me about tribal college and university history.  This podcast is primarily about Verna Fowler and I founding the College of the Menominee Nation in Northern Wisconsin.  The link:

Our History: Memories of the Tribal College Movement (Podcast 7)

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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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Ekphrasis Poetry

Ethel and I participated in a Write On Door County Art Speak’s event at the Kress Center in Egg Harbor earlier this week.  Francha Barnard led the group, and we produced two poems after looking at the art on display on loan to the Kress from the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay.

Snow Goose

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

An ekphrasis poem from Kendra Bulgrin’s painting:
“All In A Dream”

She was startled
out of sleep
by a sound
and ran in bed clothes
to the water’s edge.

There, along a blackened beach,
a snow goose lay dying.
She knelt down
near it’s limp body,
cradling it with her torso’s warmth
all through the night.

In the morning
she woke from the dream—
the snow goose gone,
but its softness
lingering long across
the front of her chest,
its message seared
in her mind.

When An Artist Drew an Owl’s Portrait

by Thomas Davis

A response after seeing Rebecca Job’s painting, “Glow” —
This started as an ekphrasis poem, but, as with most poetry, carved its own path during the writing process, metamorphosing into a poem about a pastel, “Barn Owl,” I saw Ethel Mortenson Davis draw.

A full moon, bone white as fine china, shines
through young white pine needles branching into night —

but she isn’t aware of the night’s moon, or its darkness.
A box of multi-colored pastels, half used down to the nubbings:
and she leans over the hand-crafted dining room table,
big light overhead,
staring at black paper,
eyes where her spirit is.

Inside her stillness you can feel the predator’s feralness,
alertness tense with consecrated concentration,

and then, as if her prey is shocked,
fate suspended in time,
her hands blur, her whole body moving,
as lines slash into blackness
and smear color, movement
into an owl plunging claws silently
toward an unseen mouse.

In less than a thousand heartbeats,
as the round moon shines,
the barn owl is frozen into black paper,
wings flared, large eyes swimming
with claws, silence, wings, death,

LIFE.

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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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Peninsula Pulse’s Review of In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams

A great review of “In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams”  has been published in “The Peninsula Pulse,” a publication that distributes about 9,000 copies in the winter. The summer circulation is more like 16,000. It is by far the best local coverage publication I know about, and I appreciate this review by Alissa Ehmke.

My daughters, Sonja Bingen and Mary Wood, posted this on their Facebook pages, alerting me to this.

 

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Filed under Published Books, Thomas Davis