Tag Archives: New Mexico

The Seer

A ballad by Thomas Davis

 “It is hard to follow one great vision in this world of darkness and of many changing shadows. Among those men get lost.”
― Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks

“Not far from Big Skylight and Four Windows Caves,
across fields of aa lava, loose, rough, sharp, flecked with green and orange lichen,
in darkness so absolute light becomes a memory,
blind dragons live beside an underground river”

— Thomas Davis, Inside the Blowholes

One day and night, three days and nights,
He sat inside the earth
And stared at winter’s cold, bright skies
Awaiting spring’s rebirth.

Inside his heart an awful dread
Quaked through each day’s long hours,
His mind’s shade stirring strange,
Malevolent, dark powers.

At sixteen years he should have been
Alive to all life held,
But in the windswept wilderness
He sat alone, compelled

To wait for promises that hung
Suspended in the air —
As foreign to his wish for life
As ghosts of grizzly bears.

Then, with the rising of the moon,
As puffs of glittering snow
Flowed ghostly over coal-black stones,
A trance began to flow

Like water over who he was,
His dreaming powerful
Enough to give him second sight,
A world turned beautiful.

And from the east he saw them flying,
Great beasts with whirling eyes,
Bright wings, long necks outstretched, their bodies
Dark in cold, night skies.

Inside his cave his vision thundered songs
As beasts as large as hills
Flew straight toward his hiding place,
Then flared their wings, a shrill

Bewailing shivering alive
The silver moon, the stones,
The night-time universe,
His fragile frame of human bones.

“Beware! Beware!” His spirit wailed.
“We’re dragons,” said huge minds
Inside his mind. “We’re all that’s left
Of ancient dragonkind.”

He tried to cringe back in his cave,
But as the dragons sank
Their claws in earth and slowly walked
Past where he hid and shrank

From heads and bodies nightmare-huge,
He felt how sadness filled
The night and twisted who he was,
His boyhood murdered, killed

By creatures that could not be real,
By sadness from a trance,
By loss much greater than the loss
Of humans from life’s dance.

The dragons passed him in the night,
Came to a cave so huge
It seemed to swallow dragons whole
Into a centrifuge.

As dragon after dragon went
Beneath volcanic ground,
He held his breath and prayed and prayed
He’d not be seen nor found.

At last a single dragon paused
Before the mawing dark;
She seemed to sigh before she left
The night, a matriarch

Who did not want to leave the world
For life inside old fires
Long ossified to rock and sure
To end her life’s desires.

And as she paused she turned and saw
Him huddled in his cave.
Her eyes whirled fire and made him quake
While trying to be brave.

She made no sound, but stared at him
Until, his heartbeats wild,
He crawled into the night
And stood, a frightened human child

Inside the gaze of dragon eyes
That bored into his heart
And stripped him of humanity,
His spirit rived apart.

The dragon snorted, sending fire
Into the nighttime air.
He stood and forced his eyes to match
The dragon stare for stare.

The world seemed poised upon a brink
Where revelations stormed,
But then the dragon turned from Seer,
Child, leaving him forlorn.

Inside the moment when the dragon
Turned, left him once again
Alone, his hair turned white; he aged
And grinned an old man’s grin.

He kept the dragons’ secret safe
And lived a hundred years,
A man apart, a man so strange
He had no sense of fear.

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Filed under poems, Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

Poetry’s One Language: Taliesin in New Mexico

by Thomas Davis

Taliesin walked a sparse wood.
Pink and white stones sheered into cliffs.
This was not the wild seacoast where clerics and bards warred,
declaiming words of power,
but a land as dry as Job’s tongue:
“Where shall wisdom be found?”

The bard had stood on a black rock jutting into sea-fury.
He had called mists and forest spirits,
swarming to gestures and words like ghostly raiments,
then walked through a shimmering gate into sweltering skies.
Standing below a tall, red cliff, he sent his spirit
across a dry land and walked,
feeling poetry falter in the great silence.

On a sandstone table he stopped and stared at hairy black spiders.
A thousand scuttled across the red stone in frenzy.
He could not understand spider’s movement’s language.
He could not feel poetry’s spirit ebb and flow
where no coracle boats or sailing ships plied waves.

He studied a turquoise juniper tree’s green flame
and tried to feel how such small trees could walk,
but they seemed rooted in fields of pink and white stone.

Taliesin trudged with his staff through a long day.
Sun blazed; a horned moon, waxing, rose.
The bard’s heart shuddered.

How was he to escape a land where poetry was tenuous?
Where no selkie dived beneath waves into seaweed forests?

He listened: Women’s voices elegant and wild with frenzy –
Men speaking words as strange as the landscape.

A red wolf howled beneath stars and horned moon.
A cold wind blew.
Pinyon, pine, and juniper branches danced and sang.

The bard smiled and raised arms out of his brown robe.
He spoke poetry’s one language to night sky, trees, and wind.

A black rock jutted into a foaming, wind-driven sea.

Note: The is a rewrite of a poem posted a long time ago.

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Filed under poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis

Taliesin in New Mexico Near Inscription Rock

by Thomas Davis

 Taliesin walked in a sparse woods;
pink and white stones rose from earth into cliffs
topped with rock, pinyon, pine, and juniper trees.
This was not his native land, Ireland’s wild coast
where clerics and ancient bards warred,
declaiming words of power
into spirits of unlettered men and women,
but a land as dry as Job’s tongue:
“Where shall wisdom be found?”

The great bard had stood on a rock
jutting into a sea’s fury, called mists and forest spirits
into a gate he walked through into sweltering skies
so filled with light they felt unreal.
Standing below a tall red cliff
he sent his spirit out across a dry land
and walked, feeling how poetry faltered
in the great silence of stone, trees, and sand.

On a massive sandstone table he stopped
and stared at hairy black spiders’ frenzy
as they scuttled in a fall mating dance.
He could not understand the language
spoken by the spider’s movement.
He could not feel the spirit of poetry’s ebb and flow
where no coracle boats or sailing ships plied waves.

He studied a turquoise juniper tree’s green flame.
He tried to feel how such small trees
would move across the dry landscape,
but they seemed rooted in pink and white stone,
trees drawing sustenance from soils
not fertile enough to engender song.

Taliesin walked and walked through a long day.
In the west, above dark hills, the sun blazed.
A horned moon, slender in new waxing, rose.

The ancient bard’s heart shuddered, making him faint.
How was he to leave a land where poetry was tenuous?
Where no selkie dived beneath waves into seaweed forests?
Where he could not weave the land’s power into his voice?

He listened. The Milky Way netted above him,
luminous river of light flowing toward night’s horizon.
He listened, and then he heard . . .

women’s voices elegant and wild with creative frenzy,
men speaking words as strange as the landscape,
voices that echoed back through peoples
more ancient than even Taliesin’s time.

A red wolf howled beneath stars and horned moon.
A cold wind blew.
Pinyon, pine, and juniper branches danced and sang.

The great bard felt the strangeness of where he was
and smiled and raised arms out of his brown robe.
He found the rhythm of poetry’s one language
and spoke it to the night sky, trees, wind,

and suddenly he stood in darkness,
and he was on a black rock jutted
into a foaming, wind-driven sea.

Note: This is an old poem. I am not sure if I have blogged it here before.

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Doorways at Chaco Canyon

Doorways at Chaco Canyon

A photograph by Alazanto, Kevin Davis, our son

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Sunset Tree

a photograph by Alazanto, Kevin Davis, our son who died on this day from cancer in 2010

sunset_tree

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Capture

a photograph by Kevin Michael Davis, our son, Alazanto)

Capture

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Tree at Sunset

by Alazanto, Kevin Michael Davis, our son

Tree at Sunset

5 Comments

Filed under Art, Photography