Under the Tail of the Milky Way Galaxy: Wisconsin Poems
Author: Ethel Mortenson Davis
Publisher: CreateSpace (2018)
The poems in Under the Tail of the Milky Way Galaxy were written after Ethel Mortenson Davis moved from New Mexico back to her home state of Wisconsin. As an artist Davis's work is filled with movement and intense colors that involve the viewer with an intense imagery. Her poetry is, in a lot of ways, like her pastels. It is compressed, intense, visual, and, ultimately, memorable. John Looker, one of Britains greatest poets, said of this, Davis's fifth book, "Here is a harvest of finely-judged lyrical poems that express a joy in the natural world. Carefully observed and beautifully expressed, they are not merely nature poems, however. Ethel Mortenson Davis has a deep reverence for nature, coupled with sadness at humankind’s frequent indifference. There are moments of striking insight as, for example, in this reference to the tree snail or slug: “trails of lubricant / caught by sunlight / in a mathematical moment”. Elsewhere there are equivocal judgments about her own species, as when she tells a rescued animal, “humans are both tormentor / and saviors”. So, there’s delight to be found in these pages, but also a call for awareness." Standing Feather, an outstanding New Mexico poet, wrote that "There is something profoundly spiritual and tragically elusive in our understanding of the vast wilderness. In Under the Tail of the Milky Way Galaxy, Ethel Mortenson Davis shows us how to connect deeply with the sacred spiral and reminds us that compassion is the fragrant essence that draws light into the darkness of human desire and elevates us to the edge of grand possibility." This is a book that has both nature and the tragedy of humanity as its themes. It can be tough sometimes, but more often than not the poetry reaches for a beauty and power that the reader will not soon forget.