Tag Archives: love poetry

On an Instrument of Ten Strings

by Thomas Davis

On an instrument of ten strings
I will make melody for her,
putting in warehouses waters from the surging sea,
holding in granaries dye-dust of a butterfly’s wings.

O woman, how long you have held me with your eyes:
Night passing to day, and day passing to night again,
time moving like a particle of sand
suspended as a grain of texture in the river’s watery flow.

The thunder of your eyes has made me a stone,
silent, and still, somehow, full of my character,
the colors of my soul blending into skies
and transforming grayness into the colors of stone-like stars.

Putting in warehouses waters from the surging sea,
holding in granaries dye-dust of a butterfly’s wings,
on an instrument of ten strings
I will make melody for her.

Note: The love poems I am publishing were written during the late 1960s and early 1970s during the early years of Ethel’s and my love. Going back to them years later, I am surprised at how much more lyrical my poetry was back then than it is now even though I write in meter or meter and rhyme currently, and most of the early love poems were free verse. This early poetry’s language was often inspired by The Holy Bible, mostly from the Books of Job, Ecclesiastes, the Psalms, Proverbs, and the Song of Solomon, if I am not mistaken. I am still writing love poems to Ethel. She, and our children and grandchildren, still provide light to my life.


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White Delirium

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

how the white delirium
has set in me.

Memories ache in my throat.
Sweetness stains my mouth.

I cannot forget
your unfamiliar eyes
that cried out to me,

the end of us!


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

The Lyric’s Gone

by Thomas Davis

As middle age begins to creep
into the muscles of the heart,
the lyric impulse starts to die,
and words that blinded with their flash
and dazzle start to plod and groan
inside their cage of sentence-flesh.

Still, love is still as bright, my love.
Its fires are not as blazing hot,
nor are its rhythms quite as full
of cleverness and silk delight.

Its rhythms lengthen out to merge
with other rhythms pulsing life
and time and thought and loving moods.

I love you still; it’s you I love.
The lyric’s gone, but still, we love.

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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.


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

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The Poet and the Artist

by Thomas Davis

Inside the trailer sitting by a ditch,
the mixing bowl still clinging to the dough
that went into the oven hours before
to make the fresh-bread smell of early morning,
the poet, young, sat down to write a poem.
She pursed her lips and pledged a word to paper,
stopped, got up from the folding table, looked
as if a storm had started brewing thunderheads
behind her eyes, crossed out the word she’d written,
put down another word, and then another,
decided that the first line was not right,
crossed out the line, and searched for fire, for stone
grown out of ancient trees into a rainbow
of carbon, agate, life long gone remembered
in music swelled out of the lines she wrote.

She worked for hours, the crossed out words and lines
alive, then petrified into oblivion
across a half a dozen pages, images
half formed, then tossed away into the blaze
of other images born from the dance
of words dredged out of who she was inside
where light burned, thoughts danced, deep emotions swirled.

When, at long last, the poem was done, she shrugged,
picked up a stick of charcoal, stormed a portrait
of Pasternak, romantic, breathing, flaring
into his Russian world, onto a newsprint pad

and finished faster than the morning’s bread had cooled.

Pasternak, a Portrait
by Ethel Mortenson Davis

“Pasternak” originally appeared in The Rimrock Poets Magazine, Thomas Davis, Richard Brenneman, and Art Downing, editors, December 1967, Vol. 1, No. 1.

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Filed under Art by Ethel Mortenson Davis, Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry, Thomas Davis