by Ethel Mortenson Davis
I will call you dignity.
You are my mother.
You elevate our character.
And I will call you generosity;
you are my father.
You give us a largeness
that frees us from small meanness.
As for you, humanity,
I will call you lost.
Remember when you said,
“What good is poetry?”
“I cannot shape it into a vessel
and drink water out of it.”
“I cannot form it into a purse
and hold my money in it.”
Now, my lost one,
you have fallen into a hole.
You are on your hands and knees,
calling in the darkness
for your mother and father,
calling for poetry to be written.
The owner of Otherworlds Books in Sturgeon Bay is featuring two Four Windows Press books at her bookstore, The Glowing Pink and Skipping Stones. I hope some of the readers of this blog will consider buying a copy. They are both really good books!
Four Windows Press announces the release of a new book, The Glowing Pink by Standing Feather. Standing Feather is a New Mexico poet who lives near the El Morro National Monument and the Ancient Way Cafe. He operates a gallery, Galleria Carnaval, and paints as well as writes magnificent poetry.
Copies can be ordered at amazon.com or from Standing Feather’s gallery.
Praise for The Glowing Pink
In The Glowing Pink, Standing Feather reminds us of the almost unspeakable intimacy shared by all beings. I view the poems of this collection as passageways to the sacred, to the sheer beauty and wonder of life. Reality is luminous. There are songs and blessings for “creatures that may spend their entire lives inside a flower.” What nourishes us, what makes us whole, is empathy, and an awareness of our union with the universe. Line by line, page by page, these poems are a deep bow to all of life: the vast, the miniscule, the unseen.
James Janko, winner of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Pride for the Novel, author of The Clubhouse Thief and Buffalo Boy and Geronimo
If poetry has a searing edge that is part flame and part cool, silver moonlight, mixed with the fragrance of deep emotion, it has reached beyond everydayness into a realm as wild, beautiful, and perhaps dangerous, as those regions of space where stars are born. There must be music too, even if it is subtle music, and an unusual insight into human experience and what substances are melded together to make a human spirit. It must also look outward to others, whether they are people or living parts of the earth, and create an ecosystem of connections that reflect out of the poet into the reader so that the reader can discover something vital and true about themselves. In The Glowing Pink Standing Feather achieves all of this as poem after poem images with words that either are carved from the bedrock of stone quarried from generations of poets or sparked like flashes of quicksilver dancing and twisting into a bewilderment of light and dark. If we need a reason to read poetry, then this book gives us that reason. Thomas Davis, author of The Weirding Storm and three novels.
Write on Door County is one of the premier writer’s retreats in the Midwest. In addition to providing a 40 acre property in the woods that attract writers who want to refresh their spirits and spend a week or so writing, Write On provides workshops, readings, and what sometimes an endless round of events for writers and those interested in writing.
Ralph Murre and Sharon Auberele, two of Door County’s absolutely finest poets, publish a different Door County poet on the website on a regular basis. On August 1 they published Ethel’s poem, “The Design Teacher.” You can see the poem at http://writeondoorcounty.org. While you’re on the site you might look around if you are at all interested in writing and writers.
by Thomas Davis
I lay beside an ancient, quiet pool
and put my idle hand into the water.
A rainbow trout swam nibbling past.
Without a thought I held its thrashing fast.
The trout became a whiskery, wily otter.
I squeezed as if I’d turned into a ghoul
whose only thought was how to hold
an otter in my thrall forevermore.
The otter twisted like a fiend,
and when that failed, it bared sharp teeth and screamed.
My spirit quailed and heart turned icy cold.
Between two breaths the eagle was a child.
He looked at me and slowly, sadly smiled.
I dropped her when her human voice began to sing.
I looked into the shine of golden eyes;
the child became a woman beautiful and wise.
The woman turned and swiftly swam away.
I jumped into the pool, but she was gone —
And now I’ve spent these many years
bedazzled by an otter with a woman’s face,
Ensorcelled by a quiet water place.
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.
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
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.