Tag Archives: Davis

Flicker

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

At dawn
a loud crash
sounded against the house.
A flicker lay struggling
on the ground,
his life ending.
 
A beautiful bird
with speckled chest,
yellow tail,
and red feathers
on his head
looked as though
his spine was broken.
 
I put him in a quiet
part of the garden.
His weak cries were fearful.
 
Later that day,
when I checked,
he seemed closer to death.
 
The next morning
when I went to collect him,
he was gone.
 
I want to think
he got up and flew
up to the top of my tree,
but probably a cat or fox
found him on their trek
across the country.

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Unfurrowing

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The unfurrowing
of new leaves
is like a carefully
synchronized orchestra
with each musician
in exact harmony.
 
But we do not stand
and applaud.
 
Only Oriole gets up
and sings his splendid song,
dressed in brightly colored
vestments.

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The Rite of Spring

photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis

IMG_0535

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The Rain Stepped Softly

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The rain stepped softly
over us last night,
kissing us with
sweet tenderness.

But we push her away,
telling her to leave us alone —
like the spoiled, unthankful
children we are.

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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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Unusual Landscape

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis
Unusual Landscape

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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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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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