The Sky is a Color of Blue Like No Other

a repost by Ethel Mortenson Davis

He said,

“Exceptional people
came from there,
people that did extraordinary
things with their lives
and did amazing things
in the world.”

That place is
in the high desert mountains
where there is a crisscrossing
of invisible lines.

“Our ancients said,

‘This is the center of the earth,
where creation started,
where you and I became,”

a no-nothing place
of mud and rock
and pinion trees,
where the sky is a color
of blue . . .

like no other
in the whole universe.

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Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized

Light

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Stepping
from flat Texas
with wind-driven snow
into New Mexico
surprised us.

Suddenly
the earth changed plans
and rocked us
with red-browns and pinion greens,
flooding the cornea
of our eyes
with brightness.

Kneeling before us
you appeared.

We ran to embrace
your holy prostration.

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Wind

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

wind

Wind

She is the freest
of all women,
the wind.

The sound she plays
through the pinion trees
is a loud, sweeping sound,
like a great, spiny broom
cleaning away from the earth
things unnecessary.

Invisible,
yet she stirs the winter skies
to bring deep canyon snows today ̶
and then tomorrow
life-giving thunderstorms.

She makes us ask,
what is necessary?
What do we need
on our temporary trek
across the earth? Our suitcase in hand?
What is it we really want?

Only life from the wind.

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

In the Unsettled Land of Dreams

All Things That Matter Press has sent me the first edit of my new novel, In the Unsettled Land of Dreams.  I am working hard on the edit now, but it is slow.  One of the surprises is how long it is going to be in print.  I guess this is going to be one of the more significant works I produce in my lifetime, although I always am wracked by doubt about my longer works.

I thought I’d celebrate, though, by posting the first sonnet and paragraph in the novel.  Each chapter is prefaced by a sonnet and followed by text.  The book starts in Mingo Swamp in Missouri’s boot-heel country.  Joshua, a major character in the novel, is faced with one of several decisions that he will face on a day that promises to change his life forever.

Inflamed Imagining

A Spenserian Sonnet

Inside the swamp beside a cypress tree
(White herons in the water, bullfrog croaks
A symphony as dusk, as stealthily
As cat’s feet stalking small, shy birds, evokes
The coming night) the Preacher slowly stokes
The fire blazed in his heart and starts to sing
Songs powerful enough to loosen yokes
White masters forged through endless menacing.

The words he used burned deep; he felt their sting
And saw his spirit fire alive in eyes
Awake to dreams, inflamed imagining
Of days spent free beneath glad years of skies.

The darkness deepened underneath the tree.
He’d preach, he thought, then, later on, they’d flee.

Joshua did not want to go with his mother when she came down from Master Bulrush’s big house after dark where she was the Mistresses’ servant. He had gone through another miserable day. His stubbornness, born out of unfocused resentment, was always getting him into trouble. He couldn’t seem to want to protect himself.

The Overseer, an aging black man called Silver Coats who had terrorized Bulrush plantation slaves for years, had struck out with his whip and cut a shirt already threadbare twice that day. The last time the whip’s cord had cut him, leaving a long, red whelp crusted with blood on his skin. The deep, painful cuts were made on purpose. The Overseer was an expert at how deep his whip bit flesh.

Joshua, small for his age, mostly didn’t cry when the big black man, gray haired, light skinned, with a mean streak and perpetually snarling face, whipped him. He was fourteen years old and had long ago decided he was not going to cry every time the Overseer, or Master, brought out one of the whips hung in a small lean-to shed attached to the plantation’s red barn.

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Filed under poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis

Goldleaf

poem and photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Stopped
to look
at the Byzantine light
coming out of the morning sky ̶
goldleaf
burnishing the edges,
turning the deep mountains
violet.

Take my hand
before we become
common!

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From Ancient Way in New Mexico

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photo by Ethel Mortenson Davis from where we stayed during our New Mexico trip.

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Anishinabe Warrior

Ethel Mortenson Davis’s drawing is the perfect artwork for the cover of the epic:

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Filed under Art, Art by Ethel Mortenson Davis, Ethel Mortenson Davis, Published Books