Tag Archives: imagistic poetry

White Ermine Across Her Shoulders

Ethel’s new book, White Ermine Across Her Shoulders is available now at Barnes and Noble and other online retailers:

White Ermine Across Her Shoulders has all the elements expected by
readers of Ethel Mortenson Davis’s poetry. The lines are highly imagistic
and intense. Descriptions of the earth’s beauty are intermingled with
comments, sometimes caustic, about the human experience. Often a
music rises that is both emotional and filled with language and insights
that remain in the memory long after the book has been put down. This,
Davis’s second volume, speaks eloquently about Kevin Michael Davis, her
son who died of cancer in 2010 in Poughkeepsie, NY, and touches on other
family relationships, making some of the poems more personal than those
she has published before. These poems are balanced with an understanding
of the universe and all of its creatures that encompasses both delight and
wisdom. What makes this collection appealing is an intellectual depth that
resonates, in the way of Emily Dickenson, with the imagistic and emotional
core that has always been a hallmark of Davis’s poetry.

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For You

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

you
smell like
wild snow
or
of trees
that hug
the earth.

turn your head.

you can hear
the moss
cling to the sides
of trees
and the sun
make your hair
the color
of red honey.

not there.

leave that hill

unnoticed.

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Snowstorm

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Dragging on the valley floor,
moist drapes of clouds
spread open a window
to the sacred mountain—
white ermine across her shoulders.

Complete, at last!

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Prayer

Is the prayer
of the Snowy Egret
less

than the Monk’s supplication?

Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Life

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

we went past
somebody’s place,
and there were things
sitting all over
and kids
and a woman looking
out a window
at a cat,
and the kids
were in puddles
with their eyes in oceans,
and they were waiting
for a storm or something,
and the place
looked twice as junky
as it did when the snow was,
but it didn’t matter
because it smelled warm,
and the sky was heavy,
and life stood in the mud, open-mouthed.

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Gray-White Geese

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Put your arms around me
to keep the desert winds
from blowing through me.

Now!

As the snow clouds have gathered
like gray-white geese
gathering on water.

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The Bell

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

I heard
a temple bell
far away—
a deep rich
summoning voice.

Then
a medicine man
came to my bed,
beating the air
around my feet
and head,
beating the cobwebs
of sadness stretched
over me.

A dream.
I know because
the dog did not stir.

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