pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis
pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis
Standing Feather, who, along with John Looker over in Great Britain, is one of the greatest of contemporary poets, sent a special email to Ethel Mortenson Davis the other day. He sent a poem, “Mariposa,” which is, in effect, a companion poem to Ethel’s poem, “Circles,” which was published in her book, White Ermine Across Her Shoulders” in 2011. They are both magnificent works of art. Standing Feather’s new poem is presented first, followed by Ethel’s older work:
New Mexico is full of dirt roads
that snake around sandstone mesas
and then straighten into vast expanses
before reaching any stop signs or pavement.
From the mesa tops you can see old trucks
rambling along the valley floor,
making dust that blows sideways
across stretching generations of rocks and people.
There is nothing like riding passenger
in an old truck, and as a child
I set the pace of my life
by Uncle Pink’s ‘66 Ford.
I knew the inner workings of the beast
from my years jockeying on the cracked leather seat.
The power of the vibrations climbed my spine
and rolled from my crown in great waves.
Youth’s wine-filled days are gone.
Today I stopped along a dirt road
to accept an invitation from the mariposa lilies.
Their power to stay rooted while waving in the spring wind
is like old trucks. Both offer rugged simplicity
to compliment the density of the rocks above.
I must be moving on. Remembering Aunt Ethel,
I crank my windows down to listen for the song of the meadowlarks.
Standing Feather 4-19
When I drive
through the desert,
I keep the windows rolled down
and usually hear a few notes
from the meadow lark.
New Mexico is full of bird life.
This morning, after last night’s shower,
I heard the clicks
of the Rufus hummingbird
through my car’s open window-
a metallic pinging sound-
like electric highline wires make
when you stand under them.
The hummingbird kisses
the delicate circuits
of the eco-systems.
In the north
the snowmobiles run
the gray wolf to exhaustion.
Once the gray wolf
was chased with dog sleds
and had a chance
The wolf bites at his body
where the bullet enters,
shattering his flesh and bone,
shattering the delicate circles of life.
Ethel Mortenson Davis 2011
Poetry Breakfast, an online journal of poetry, has an international audience. One of the best poets in Great Britain, John Looker, told Ethel and I that he used to read it almost every day. Poetry Breakfast’s Editor, Ann Kestner, took off some time in a sabbatical, but now she and the journal are back. Ethel’s poem, “The Wind”, is up this morning, May 1. The link to a wonderful everyday journal and Ethel’s poem is below:
A great idea is to subscribe to the Poetry Breakfast blog and then spend breakfast every once in awhile reading out loud the poem of the day with your coffee.
photo by Ethel Mortenson Davis from where we stayed during our New Mexico trip.
Ethel Mortenson Davis’s drawing is the perfect artwork for the cover of the epic:
Ethel has gotten news that one of her poems, “Migration”, had been selected for an anthology that will be published by Water’s Edge Press. When the anthology is published it will be available from amazon.com or the publisher at https://www.waters-edge-press.com.
by Ethel Mortenson Davis
I didn’t know
you were becoming:
not a destination,
not an idea,
but rather like
a bud on the branch,
a flower in the making—
like being carried on the backs of horses,
but being the horses too.
I didn’t know you were becoming.