Tag Archives: ancestors

How Hard

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

We talked about children,
their schooling,
their boyfriends.
How they are becoming
serious about their relationships.

We talked about children
becoming people.
How hard it is.

We talked about
how hard creating
a new piece of art is.

How much energy
the making of art takes —
an extraordinary piece of art.

How hard that is:
Like the yellow orchid
in the forest this morning
among the blue waters.
How hard the earth struggled
to bring about that flower:

Like my ancestors
that were sailors,
sailing to other lands —
among the blue waters —

how hard.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry


by Ethel Mortenson Davis

All my ancestors
live inside of me.

One Grandfather cut down
the biggest tree in the county.

My Mother said,
“Why didn’t he leave
the biggest tree
to grow even bigger?”

Another Grandfather
referred to his trees
as “He and She.”

“Save those orange seeds;
they will grow into trees.”

One Grandmother said,
“What will they serve
for the wedding feast?

My room is filled
to the rafters
with their voices.

Every once in awhile
some ancestor
will sneak up behind me
and rudely nudge me
in the back

when I’m least
expecting it.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

Northwest Indian Mask — Poem: The Haida

a pastel and poem by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The Haida

The Haida left
the Northwest to come
to the Chicago Field Museum
to bring home their ancestors;

They were gone
for over one-hundred years,
stolen from a village
and put into drawers.

The Haida made button blankets
and round-cornered cedar boxes
painted in their rich
black and red symbols
in which they would place
their family remains
and bring them peace.

The Haida asked
the Chicago Field Museum
if they would also return
their family totems
and masks and other artifacts.

The Museum said,
“We’ll think about it.”

The Haida copyright © I Sleep Between the Moons of New Mexico, 2010.


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