Tag Archives: Davis

A Quiet Night

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Christmas

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

 We dropped her off
 after the Christmas program.
 Snow was on the ground.
 The night was cold.
  
 We waited, with
 our car running,
 for her to get inside.
  
 But,
 instead of going
 in the front door,
 she scurried up
 a wooden ladder
 that was placed outside
 to an upstairs bedroom.
  
 Faster than a blink of an eye
 she went,
 faster than we ran up                
 our own stairs at home.
   

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The Racing Clouds of Winter

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Separation

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

At birth,
the farmer separated
the calf from its mother.
He wiped away
the amniotic fluid
with a gunny sack
before putting him
in a separate pen.
 
Black children born
to enslaved parents were
taken from their weeping mothers
and moved hundreds of miles away.
 
Native children
were snatched from anxious parents
and moved to some miserable life.
 
A Central American baby
Is ripped from its mother’s arms.
Both baby and mother’s spirits
are broken.
 
The farmer’s wife protested,
“keep the calf with its mother.
Do you need every ounce of milk?”
 
“This is the way we do things,”
replied the farmer.

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The New Calves

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The new calves
are growing stiff
from the wetness of birth,
 
and old men
come running across the fields
asking,
who killed our
apple-blossom time?
 
I say to them,
surely dead leaves
can’t grow in your pockets now.

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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

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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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