Tag Archives: poems

Whiteness

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

On earth
there are no elements
here of humankind
that work in harmony,

but in the whiteness
of snow there are.
The whiteness is like
no other white.

The snowshoe rabbit
this morning looked
brown against it.

White is holy.
It fights back
the grayness
that is human

and wins —
for a few moments.

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Sitting on a Bench Waiting for the End of Winter

by Thomas Davis

Time hides in words spoke on the radio,
Inside newspaper columns gray with print.
The young girl, in the winter, watched the flow
Of snow wisps on the lake, her dreams intent
Upon the booming chunks of gleaming ice
That spring would heave on shore, great, white walls, cold
In spite of how the sun thawed sacrifice
From frozen ground and hazed the air with gold.

The young girl took her radio outside
And read the paper sitting on a bench
As winter waited for the moon-stirred tide
To free warm waters from its icy clench.

The young girl waited on her bench for spring
When she and ice and all the world would sing.

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Poems

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The universe
throws out poems
across the stars,

but only the poet
catches them.

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Player

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

When I awake
I will not go to the theater,
play parts, do different characters,
but will be who I am.

I will never go back
to that again,
but will go where
there is wilderness and wildlife,
running water, and laps of waves—

See snorting deer.
I am my raw self;
I have no rifle,
and my bent toward you
is harmony.

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Letter to an American Poet

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

I have waited for the prodigal son to arrive,
looking across the line of hills each day,
hoping to see his cherub-like face again—
but they say he is still in a distant land,
throwing away his inheritance,
living a debauched life.

For he has no real needs, they say.
Not like the Russians
Pasternak, Ginsburg, Yevtushenko,
Solzhenitsyn,
men of needs and wants
who cherish their inheritance
and are called sons.

I am waiting for you to come back to life again,
waiting to take the fattened young bull
out of his pen to celebrate your return.

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A Poet’s Becoming, Fionn’s Gift Across Time

by Thomas Davis

Fionn, son of Mairne, a Chief Druid’s daughter, was instructed by the Druid…to cook for him a salmon fished for a deep pool…and forbidden to taste it; but as Fionn was turning the fish over in the pan he burned his thumb, which he put into his mouth and so received the gift of inspiration. For the salmon was a salmon of knowledge, that had fed on nuts fallen from the nine hazels of poetic art. Robert Graves, The White Goddess. 1966 (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), p. 75.
 
Upon the dark dolomite jutting
Shoreline out into lake waters,
Brooding, the poet pondered, rising
Vapors misting white where otters
Often twisted brown bodies in brightness
During days of lithesome lightness.
 
Longing to discover poetry’s essence,
Plunging into intensifying agony,
Its agitated angst and strange candescence,
Searching for wisps of hope, honey
Spirited into hazel nuts fallen
Into waters fused with wisdom’s pollen,
 
Praying, the poet chanted phrases
Empty of meaning, madness exploding
Dystopian dreams into glazes
Filming stratums in mist, imploding
Into a dance of time: Land distinct,
Shrouding tales of peoples long extinct.
 
Milky mist rose from the waters.
Paddling in a coracle, Fionn,
Singing softly as sleek otters,
Angled after salmon in an eon
Ever-ending, inspiration
Infusing words into desperation.
 
Dancing in the poet’s pounding
Heartbeat, language’s lilting incantation
Metamorphosed landscapes, people’s living,
Into a singing suffusion of creation:
Fionn spanning time and continents,
Salmon swimming past despair to resonance.

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Night Ride

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Come with me,
down where the trees are,
for there is a line of sky
without clouds,
and soon the earth
will be the color of red honey.

Come with me,
for there is enough feed
for the horses,
and when we stop to sleep
we’ll keep the dogs close
to warm us.

Come with me,
for the songs of the Ancients
are calling.
Orion is straight above our heads,
and we must make
this night’s journey.

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