Tag Archives: Navajo

The Sky is a Color of Blue Like No Other

a repost by Ethel Mortenson Davis

He said,

“Exceptional people
came from there,
people that did extraordinary
things with their lives
and did amazing things
in the world.”

That place is
in the high desert mountains
where there is a crisscrossing
of invisible lines.

“Our ancients said,

‘This is the center of the earth,
where creation started,
where you and I became,”

a no-nothing place
of mud and rock
and pinion trees,
where the sky is a color
of blue . . .

like no other
in the whole universe.

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Old Woman

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

She dropped her eyes
when a white woman
said, good morning.

Silence
is all there was.

Perhaps she remembered
the Long Walk
and what the whites did:

How they starved
and killed
the Navajo,
down to five thousand—

how they decimated them
until their chromosomes
layed waste
and disease set in,

diseases where the people
cannot go out in the sun
without dying.

Silence is what she spoke.

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The People

by Ethel Mortenson Davis to the Navajo

I’ll bring a peach sapling
for you–
for the peach trees
that were cut
and burned.

And I’ll bring seed corn
for you–
for the corn that was pulled
out before it gave birth.

I’ll bring two lambs
for you–
for all the sheep
they killed and laid
at your feet
there on the ground
with your tears.

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Fancy Dancer

a pastel drawing by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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All We Have Is Sky

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

In the end
all we have is sky.

He walked in winter
across the mountain
many times,
searching for the plant
dried by winter’s cold
that looks like all the others.

After many days
the medicine man
found the herb and planned
two ceremonies
for the whiteman,
a man who extended his arm
to The People, and they, The People,
extended their arms.

They took him
to a sacred place
high in the mountain,
performing the secret ceremony
where sky
is greater than the earth.

The white man walked
in two worlds.

“You will be okay,”
they said.

In the end all we have is sky.

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Rabbit Hole

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

I keep a rabbit hole
on my kitchen window sill
so I can jump into it
once in a while:

When people become inhuman,
details from the bloody wars…

or when he came into the room;
his white jacket spoke and said
the tests did not look good.

“The Navajo want me
to have two healing ceremonies
with Mr. Redhouse,”
you said.

Underground,
in the cool stillness,
I listen to the raging river
sift through the earth
one drop at a time.

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Evening in Continental Divide, NM

We have, over the life of fourwindowspress.com, presented poetry and essays about Continental Divide, New Mexico. It is a small place off Interstate 40 to the east of Gallup. The area has a variety of races and tribes, Navajo, Pueblo (especially Zuni and Acoma), Hispanics, people from the Middle East, and Anglos. The majority of the population are Native Americans. This photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis is taken just on the other side of the fence around our house looking southwest–more west than south, at sunset. You can see the Zuni Mountains behind the rabbit brush, sagebrush, juniper, cedar, and piñon trees. There are about 360,000 acres of pristine wilderness in the Zuni Mountains. What you cannot see in the photograph are the elk, mule deer, jack rabbits, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, bobcats, lynx, black bears, grizzly bears, cattle, horses, coyotes, and dogs that sometimes make noises in the night that get our two wonderful dogs, Pax and Juneau, barking. This is only one angle from our house. The forest is thicker if you swing the camera lens just a little bit. From our second story you can see the red cliffs to the north and Mount Taylor, the area’s towering mountain rich in Navajo and Pueblo beliefs, to the east. We live in a wild, rural place that presents some challenges–we are sometimes without electricity or water for a day, but that also causes tourists to stop and get out their cameras.

Photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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