Tag Archives: high desert

Beneath the Red Cliffs

by Thomas Davis

for April Chischilly

Beneath red cliffs as first morning light reflects fire
into an impossibly blue sky,
a Navajo woman, aging, calm, long black hair and black eyes
a part of high desert juniper and pinion trees,
walks as beauty stirs backwards and forward in time.

The medicine man in his Hogan’s darkness
sees a woman he doesn’t know through an ancient crystal
handed from medicine man to medicine man
through thousands and thousands of years.
He feels heart-strength, spirit-strength,
sees her facing what is beyond the light’s weaving,
her beauty-song echoing and echoing
into the song of women, the spirit of women
who have forever given birth
and lived through the everyday turmoil of everyday
without flinching, trying to find the courage that is who she is.

Courage weaves a blanket from light out of the woman’s heart
into the texture of red stone.
It rises from the moment when sons were born,
patience was worn away as dreams and hopes were deferred,
as self honesty penetrated weaving consciousness
that tries to protect itself in the interest of shuttling
strength and goodness into the sinews and spirits of children.
Speaking softly, singing beauty, the Navajo woman walks
beneath cliff fire ignited by first light
beneath an impossibly blue sky.

The Navajo woman walks beneath red cliffs
in an impossible blue sky
as first light sets sandstone walls on fire.


Filed under poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis, Uncategorized

Empty Hands

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

You come again
with empty hands.
When I meet you
your hands have nothing for me.
Not a small desert blossom.
Not a tiny bit of driftwood.
No rock.

You could have reached down
on your walk across the desert
and picked up a small gift.

I yearn for those hands
to be generous.
My father,
although a tyrant,
always had something for me
in his large brown hands.

But you,
I will rename you
“Empty Hands.”

Tomorrow the light
that floods the high desert
will present itself to me
as my gift.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

The Asking

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The undiscovered land
of the high desert
takes our faces
in her hands
and asks,
“What kind of people
are we?”

“What kind of people
do we want to become?”

She has a way
of changing us
as we walk past
the rocky, dark soils
with giant cedars,
the singular mountain,
and the coyote
moving in his spring dance.

This undiscovered land
takes our faces
in both her hands….
and asks….

and asks….


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

Summer in the High Desert

a photograph by Sonja Bingen


Filed under Art, Photography

New Mexico

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis


Filed under Art, Art by Ethel Mortenson Davis, Ethel Mortenson Davis, Photography

Dance of the Iris: Fertile Land, Desert Land

Dance of an Iris

a photograph by Sonja Bingen

Iris in the Desert

a photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Note: The time of Iris blooms is nearly done. In fertile southern Wisconsin the Iris dance in sunlight and the intensity of spring. In the high desert Irises, especially a profusion of Irises, is a miracle.


Filed under Art, Photography

Storm Clouds Over the High Desert

a photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis


Filed under Art, Ethel Mortenson Davis, Photography