Tag Archives: poems

Climber

by Ethel Mortenson Davis
001
This is the right time
of the year
to be a climber of trees,

trusting only
the youngest
and strongest limbs
with your life,

your cheek resting
on the nook
of a shoulder—

the right time
of the year
for fireball colors.

This is the place
where one can look
back below
to see if mankind
has become a race
of Renaissance men.

Not yet,
the climber says,
not yet.

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Planting the Wings of Monarch Butterflies

by Thomas Davis

In Southern Door an aging man, face fixed,
Pulled up beside a country road and walked
Toward a wooden fence where milkweed mixed
With grass and weeds, fall’s fiery colors stalked
Into a forest’s weave of summer green,
The season’s changing edged into the day.

Beside the fence the man bent down, serene,
Intent on picking milkweed pods, a fey
Gleam in his eyes. He got into his car
And drove until he found an empty field,
Stopped, pulled a pod out of a mason jar,
And freed milk fluff into a wind that wheeled
Time through the winter to a glorious spring
That sprung a summer graced with monarch wings.

Note: After reading an editorial by Peter Devlin in the Door County Advocate.

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Fellow Travelers

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The older Oriental woman
was not nice.
The younger men
that were of European descent
accompanied him.
Actually, they never
left his side.

He thought if he
went far enough away,
they would go away.
But they did not.

Even when he was dying
they frightened him.
That was why he moved
far away—to New York.
Perhaps all his problems
would go away.
But they did not.

He told us this at the last.
He didn’t want to hurt us.

When you were little
The voices in your head
were telling you things.

I made a mental note,
“Something is wrong.”

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Lesser World

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

I saw them
in strings,
making the shape of V’s,
Canadian Geese,

flying high enough
to use the lake’s edge
as their guide:
Blue-green water
with white foam
at the edges,
over rushes with dark red plumes
on their trek
southward.

For our world will
become lesser
without them,
not as full of life
as the wet summer
has been

while we wait
for the silent season
of winter—

and for the quiet winter
of our life,
a more diminished one,
a lesser world.

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2

by Thomas Davis

2

He talked about the mirror of the lake,
reflected trees and cloud and sky, the still
so absolute, the waters dark, opaque,
no wind, no breath, no birds, no human will
to mar the moment made for memory
entangled in the webs of days and hours
that jumble, jangle, pounce, drone, laugh, and flee
across and through the fields of flowers
surrounding us and all the love we miss
but know inside our livers, gall stones, hearts
as hours blend into hours and all our bliss
becomes a mirror that is but a part
of floating on a lake of trees and sky.

As rain begins to fall, a loon begins to cry.

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White Blossoms on a Branch

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

When all human
intervention has harmed us,
when all familia
have spent the fruits,
then the Great Spirit
gives to us our opening
from the darkness,

from the “going down
into the pit of our own agony,”

a candle,
a birth, a rite
into a new life.

Then we are assured—
like the mother tiger
who reassures her young
that they belong
to a family,
that they are important
in this world.

This is what it’s like—
White blossoms on a branch.

Note:  I owe the quotation and inspiration for this poem to Herron, Elizabeth.  2010.  Poetry for the Ear of God.

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14

by Thomas Davis

On Friday nights I’d work all day, then walk
home from the office where two teenaged girls
were streaming past their mother with their talk
about this boy, this girl, their endless whirl
of friend, near-friend relationships that bloomed
and changed like clothing changed from day to day.

The minute that I touched the door excitement spumed
as I gulped down a meal before Green Bay—
and then we drove for forty country miles
to where two girls could dance and laugh to songs
and show that small town girls had mastered styles
that big town girls would envy all night long.

I sat inside a dinghy Burger King
and read while daughters spread their teen club wings.

Note: This sonnet was published earlier on fourwindowspress.

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