Tag Archives: dry land

Poetry’s One Language: Taliesin in New Mexico

by Thomas Davis

Taliesin walked a sparse wood.
Pink and white stones sheered into cliffs.
This was not the wild seacoast where clerics and bards warred,
declaiming words of power,
but a land as dry as Job’s tongue:
“Where shall wisdom be found?”

The bard had stood on a black rock jutting into sea-fury.
He had called mists and forest spirits,
swarming to gestures and words like ghostly raiments,
then walked through a shimmering gate into sweltering skies.
Standing below a tall, red cliff, he sent his spirit
across a dry land and walked,
feeling poetry falter in the great silence.

On a sandstone table he stopped and stared at hairy black spiders.
A thousand scuttled across the red stone in frenzy.
He could not understand spider’s movement’s language.
He could not feel poetry’s spirit ebb and flow
where no coracle boats or sailing ships plied waves.

He studied a turquoise juniper tree’s green flame
and tried to feel how such small trees could walk,
but they seemed rooted in fields of pink and white stone.

Taliesin trudged with his staff through a long day.
Sun blazed; a horned moon, waxing, rose.
The bard’s heart shuddered.

How was he to escape a land where poetry was tenuous?
Where no selkie dived beneath waves into seaweed forests?

He listened: Women’s voices elegant and wild with frenzy –
Men speaking words as strange as the landscape.

A red wolf howled beneath stars and horned moon.
A cold wind blew.
Pinyon, pine, and juniper branches danced and sang.

The bard smiled and raised arms out of his brown robe.
He spoke poetry’s one language to night sky, trees, and wind.

A black rock jutted into a foaming, wind-driven sea.

Note: The is a rewrite of a poem posted a long time ago.

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Filed under poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis

The Answer

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

“I could never
live in a place
where it doesn’t rain
and isn’t green.”

“It’s the same earth
that’s wrapped around
the great lakes,
just farther west
and south.”

“What do you see in it?”

“I see clouds hugging
the tall mountains and not
letting go.

I see the white rose
and purple blossom
existing in the dry land
because they are sacred.

I see the people
come outside and celebrate
with dance
in the eternal circle
when the rains finally
do come.”

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Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry