Tag Archives: wilderness


by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Before you come
into the wilderness
you must leave
your anger and hate
behind you.

You must open your heart
and extend your arms

before you can see
the new ground-cover plants
whose leaves feel
like a baby’s skin.

A yellow swallowtail.

She is leading us
through the shaded trees
and wants us to follow.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry, Uncategorized


For Brand Windmiller

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

 You take a boy,
ten or eleven,
and put him
into the wilderness,

let him do
the hard work
of boating
before the destructive
influences permeate him,

let the wilderness
finish his training.

Let him eat berries and nuts.
And let him hear the sound of
the red-eyed loon
as she carries her young
on her back.

If once is not enough,
bring him again.
Let the wilderness
do her work.

Early in the morning,
push the bow
into the darkness
as the white fog
sits on top the water.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry


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.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

Sonnet 12

Before we reached the bank two twelve year olds
were on the water in the good canoe.
Both Brand and I looked at our sons, their coup
apparent as they grinned at us, both bold
enough to know that, ten feet out, they controlled
the moment even though the wind still blew
and rain was falling hard, the clouds a stew
of swirling turbulence and cold.
Okay, Brand said. Inside the inlet, calm
prevailed, but as we went into the lake
the waves were higher than our heads. The qualms
I’d had at seeing youngsters make their break
to manhood with a crazymad aplomb
unmanned me–as they left me in their wake.

Note: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Brand Windmiller, Jesse Windmiller, Brand’s grandson Braxton, my grandson Will Bingen, and I spent a few days at an unimproved campsite north of Minoqua Wisconsin. I am reprinting this sonnet written while our son, Kevin, was dying of cancer, in memory of that trip as I relived a glorious part of my life that Brand and Jesse were so instrumental in helping to make happen. I will be forever grateful for that special time with my son. A couple of photos from the Minoqua trip are below:

Mist in the Early Morning
Mist in the Early Morning

In the Land of the Cranes
In the Land of the Cranes


Filed under Art, Photography, Poetry, Thomas Davis

Cherry Orchard

A Miltonian Caudet Sonnet

by Thomas Davis

They crawled out from their canvas tent and stared
At stumps still littered through the opening
Their two man saw had cut into the spring-
Deep twilight made by woods so thick they dared
An axe to fell a wilderness that flared
Across so many miles no bird could wing
Its way to planted orchards blossoming
Into the dream the couple, logging, shared.

So tired she barely kept her head upright,
The woman started up the morning fire.
She sighed to see the stumps that made the field
Look strange inside the early morning light,
An emptiness surrounded by the choir
Of birds in trees where she in silence kneeled.

“The canopy is peeled
Away enough to let us plant the trees,”
He said. “Their blossoms will attract the bees.”

She looked and tried to tease
The cherry trees he saw into her mind,
But all she saw were stumps, work’s endless grind.


Filed under Poetry, Thomas Davis

Little did I know a pack of wild dogs was trying to slip up on me

a photograph by Alazanto, Kevin Davis, our son

Little did I know a pack of wild dogs was trying to sneak up on me

1 Comment

Filed under Art, Photography


by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The local people say,
don’t walk out in the wilderness
unless you carry a gun,
because of large predators
and wild dogs—

dogs turned loose
in the desert, abused and neglected.
Now in the hundreds of thousands,
they pack up
to find food and survive.
They kill elk and cattle,
and people—
a man in his fifties.

Children abused
And neglected
join gangs in order to survive.
In order to live—
they kill people.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Photography, Poetry