Tag Archives: nature

Mirror

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Because we walked
to the edge of the water,
a loon surprised us
with two young
clinging on her back—
geometric black and white spots
on top of a still,
early morning mirror.

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Bullet Train

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

There is a bullet train
speeding through our town,
our country,
with the letters CRISIS
written on it.

We cannot put
our arm out
to catch it,
or wrap our legs around it
to hold on to it.

With lightning fastness,
it is melting the ice
at the poles,
changing the seas forever.

It is ripping apart
the land around it
with drought, flood and wildfire,
diminishing wildlife and songbirds.

Like a giant spring,
loaded and set
to snap at our face,
it will take out
the whole eye of the world.

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Slipping Away

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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A Quiet Night

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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October Sumac

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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The Racing Clouds of Winter

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Heart of the Evening

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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The Rite of Spring

photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis

IMG_0535

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When a Tree Talks to a Dancing Fire Sky

a photograph by Sonja Bingen, our daughter

Screen Shot 2019-12-13 at 4.23.30 PM

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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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