Tag Archives: Ethel Mortenson Davis

In Memory of Juno

Poem and pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

 Dog
 The way you buried
 your nose in my hand
 made me unable to forget you
 that cold morning
 at daybreak.
  
 Skin and bones you were.
 Perhaps a boot to your neck,
 or starvation
 sent you fleeing to my gate,
 asking for help.
  
 So I let you in.
   

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What Hope Is

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

I’ll tell you
 what hope is.
 It’s not going
 to the grocery store
 and getting yelled at 
 for bringing your
 screaming son along
 and then next week
 doing it again.
  
 It is breaking through
 the thick cloak that surrounds him
 and finding a small increment
 of communication,
 reaching down into
 the cylinder of autism
 and pulling out
 shafts of light. 

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Poetry Hall Chinese American Poetry

Ethel Mortenson Davis has two poems in the new issue of Poetry Hall, an English/Chinese journal that is available in the United States and and China. A Chinese scholar translated Ethel’s poems, and they appear in English and Chinese. You can order the journal at amazon. It’s really inexpensive. The title of Ethel’s poems are “The Room” and “Snow Goose.” “Snow Goose” was written when we joined Francha Barnard in Egg Harbor at the library for a session on writing Ekphrastic poetry!Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 8.14.29 AM.png

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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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Bramble, the literary magazine

Ethel and I guest edited the latest issue of Bramble, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets publication. Ethel’s art is on the cover. We want to thank by Christine Kubasta and Tori Welhouse for their help. This was a great experience, and we hope lots of people will look and see what fantastic poets Wisconsin has! If you want copies you can order them from amazon now, or you can read the entire issue online!

https://www.wfop.org/bramble-lit-mag

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Ekphrasis Poetry

Ethel and I participated in a Write On Door County Art Speak’s event at the Kress Center in Egg Harbor earlier this week.  Francha Barnard led the group, and we produced two poems after looking at the art on display on loan to the Kress from the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay.

Snow Goose

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

An ekphrasis poem from Kendra Bulgrin’s painting:
“All In A Dream”

She was startled
out of sleep
by a sound
and ran in bed clothes
to the water’s edge.

There, along a blackened beach,
a snow goose lay dying.
She knelt down
near it’s limp body,
cradling it with her torso’s warmth
all through the night.

In the morning
she woke from the dream—
the snow goose gone,
but its softness
lingering long across
the front of her chest,
its message seared
in her mind.

When An Artist Drew an Owl’s Portrait

by Thomas Davis

A response after seeing Rebecca Job’s painting, “Glow” —
This started as an ekphrasis poem, but, as with most poetry, carved its own path during the writing process, metamorphosing into a poem about a pastel, “Barn Owl,” I saw Ethel Mortenson Davis draw.

A full moon, bone white as fine china, shines
through young white pine needles branching into night —

but she isn’t aware of the night’s moon, or its darkness.
A box of multi-colored pastels, half used down to the nubbings:
and she leans over the hand-crafted dining room table,
big light overhead,
staring at black paper,
eyes where her spirit is.

Inside her stillness you can feel the predator’s feralness,
alertness tense with consecrated concentration,

and then, as if her prey is shocked,
fate suspended in time,
her hands blur, her whole body moving,
as lines slash into blackness
and smear color, movement
into an owl plunging claws silently
toward an unseen mouse.

In less than a thousand heartbeats,
as the round moon shines,
the barn owl is frozen into black paper,
wings flared, large eyes swimming
with claws, silence, wings, death,

LIFE.

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The Birth of the World

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

IMG_0488

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A Letter on the Horizon’s Poem Released Today – Ethel Davis’s New Book

In my opinion this is the best book Ethel Mortenson Davis has published yet.  It contains poems written during her teenage years through all the subsequent time until now.  Poem after poem is a masterpiece.

Kathy Isaacson in her review of the book said:  “Having long wondered who the Rumi of my generation could be, Ethel Mortenson Davis’s poetry similarly soothes and inspires me.  This collection helps us contemplate our relationships with the earth while exploring other companions such as cancer, pain, war, loss of life, and starving horses.  We experience healing with the smell of wild snow, sound of moss clinging to trees, sight of the moon dancing and fireflies whispering.  Ethel’s poetry has accompanied me to a volcano in the New Mexican desert where it was read to the “laughing stars.”  It has been recited to my classroom of wide-eyed students and currently blesses my bedside table.”

I found the book on amazon.com this morning, but not on Barnes and Noble yet.  It was under Ethel Davis, not Ethel Mortenson Davis.  The publisher is Kelsay Books.

Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 9.15.37 AM

 

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The Kurdish Left Behind

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

On our walk today
a large flock of Canadian geese
rose up into the air.
Then a single call came
from somewhere deep in the woods,
a haunting sound made
by an injured or sick bird,
calling for help.

Migrating geese leave
their injured and sick behind.
Winter overtakes them
and ends their suffering.

It is like the Kurdish people
we left behind today,
or the Central Americans—
they reached for our hands,
crying out through their pain and suffering,
and we turned our backs on them,
left them for their enemies and winter
to finish them off.

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Presentation

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Screen Shot 2019-10-04 at 2.36.29 PM

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