Tag Archives: poems

Laborer

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

He was dressed
like a laborer
bending around in the yard
in working clothes.
He whistled tunes
that were classical symphonies.

I thought, how strange
he is dressed —
yet knows these tunes.
He should be dressed
in a beautiful coat like Joseph’s.

I went to the window
looking for him,
still hearing his whistling,
but then realized
I was waking from a dream;

like the Navajo holy woman
chanting under my window
that early morning.

I went to all the windows
to catch a glimpse of her,
but then realized
she was part of my dream.

Who are these people?

I think they are the healers
that repair
the holes in the universe,
the tear,
the rift just outside
my window.

4 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Uncategorized

Song of Ecstasy

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

She is the sort that hears the song
the hills make after a heavy rain —
a humming sound one hears
first through the finger tips,
then the ears.

She’s the sort that dances with antelope at dusk,
playing in the field until dawn.

She’s the sort that makes the insect song —
not bell, nor click, but a rhythm in-between:

like the sound the silver pieces
sewn on her dress and leggings make,
a sound like wind and bell
as she makes her grand entry
in a circle around the village —

head held high,
her hair flowing behind her,

tasting the song of pure ecstasy
like honey on the tongue.

8 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry, Uncategorized

Discovery

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

It is because
the earth is tilted
this time of year,
the sun brightest at sunrise,
October light exceptional,
that I can see
silver threads strung
across my path
among the oldest trees,

thousands of gleaming strings
made by tree snails or slugs —
trails of lubricant
caught by sunlight
in a mathematical moment;

glistening chains we put
around our necks
to take home with us
to put in our favorite drawer —
the one labeled “DISCOVERIES”—
there in the back of our mind.

7 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

Liberation

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

An old man leaves
a federal prison,
free at last.
He has spent
most of his life
behind bars
for a crime
he did not commit.

The air is as sweet
as any he has known.
He steps into freedom.

This morning
a white butterfly,
with black accents
I could not identify,
was caught in a spider’s web.

I pulled him from
his bondage.
He was still alive
and eager to fly.

He flew into the forest
rich with oxygen,
a freedom he had thought
would never again be his.

And there in the sundrenched trees
he became giddy
on pulsing, cooling waves of air.

3 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

A Prophet Arrives on Washington Island

A French Sonnet

by Thomas Davis

The old black man, eyes bright as noonday sun,
Splashed from the wooden boat onto the shore.
He lifted up his voice, the waves Death’s Door
Whipped white behind him, praised the blessed Son
Of God and New Jerusalem and spun
Around, his arms held high, a troubadour
Of his escape from slavery and war
To wilderness, the role of sacristan
To fisherman and men and women freed
From whips and masters and slaver’s creed
Of dominance designed to pinch the soul
And void the human spirit’s vital flame.

“Praise God!” the prophet said, the roll
Of waves against his feet. “Praise God’s sweet name!”

5 Comments

Filed under poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis

Sisters as Flowers

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

I think of one as a rose,
feminine yet voluptuous,
a powerful scent,
delicate like no other,
the first flower you go to
in the garden —

the oldest as a lily,
singular and strong,
standing apart from all the rest,
an example to all her sisters —

and then the white daisy,
clean and fresh
and wholly authentic—
one to have in your corner.

2 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

Restoration

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The lips of the rain,
soft at first,
become
cold and stiff
from last night’s
freezing temperatures.

Out on the lake
The black-winged Pelicans
fish in huddles.
They are restored
to their ancient places,
the Great Lakes.

If only we could restore
the people to their rightful places,
bringing young and old back
to their ancient lands.

Instead millions are pushed out
from wars and famines
into a great movement

like schools of fish,
swarming,
moving like a great wheel
across the face of the deep.

8 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry