EarthPoem Archives
Site Map
Teacher Resources
Teacher Resources
Learn Ecology
Kids' Earth Art
Members' Writing
John Caddy
Contact MorningEarth

Morning Earth Healing Images

February 2013

click thumbs to enlarge

2.1.2013 INVITE to WRITE #49

The photo is by Peter Kuttner of Queensland, Australia.A strange fungus in Australia is called the anemone stinkhorn. In reproductive stage it releases spores in a liquid mass that stinks like rotting meat, which drives these flies into a frenzy of eating in hopes that they can lay their eggs in this carcass that is neither dead nor meat. Instead the fungus tricks the flies into spreading its spores around a rainforest circle fly-flight in radius. Neither the fungus nor the flies are smart, but the ecosystem they are part of is clearly intelligent. Our human response to both partners in this symbiotic relationship may tend toward disgust, but there is great elegance in the manipulative patterns motivated by reproduction.. Contemplate this photo and see where it takes your writing.

Submit your writing by Wednesday Feb. 13 ( a kind of valentine to Earth?) and it will be published Friday Feb 15. All submissions will be published by email and archived at
Email your writing to

Very interesting writing is shared tonight. First, Poems released by bee eaters that struck a strong chord in several of you. Second, Poems released by a photo of jagged ice on water. (Scroll down) Strong writing. Thank you. If you find a particular piece especially effective, let the author know. Send me a separate email for each kudos, and I will pass them on. Please don’t send me an email praising every poem. That pretty much misses the point.

Watching this way and that

looking out for each other,

eyes watching bright and sure.

On the branch they

make a place for each and all. Seven -

whose rosy plumage reads as one.

One voice can call a congregated message

gently, forcefully presented. Such from

these feathered, close bodies on a branch.
We note the subtle-angled focus of the eyes,

While color, symmetry, jaunty poses

fill emotion, jog the spirit,

claim attention to explain, in their oneness

how beautiful they are?

~~Mary McConnell, Wisconsin


Found among foliage, leaves that have risen,
Twinned, and then twinned, and twinned again,
Birds of one yellow, black, red and golden
Point their long beaks, upwardly frozen,
Three of them leftward, four of them right,
All their small patterns, life's real delight.

~~Judith Mosby, Virginia


Democracy Bird Style
Seven little beauties sittin in a row.
Three said yes and three said no.
 One little birdie holds all the power.
One might say he’s the bird of the hour.
 He will think hard and do his very best
to decide if they fly to the east or the west.
First he looks left and then to the right
while the rest of the six await their plight.
 Decision made, they’re going east.
That is the place where next they’ll feast.
 Or is it west?  He could be wrong.
Leadership ain’t for the weak.

~~Linda Leary, Colorado


What joy!
What symmetry
A  chorus of beauty
Brightness unmitigated
Ready to sing

Or dance
Or maybe pose
For the grand finale

Take a bow
My pretty birds
Make me clap until I laugh

Have you practiced much?
Who chose the colors for your feathers?
From the audience
I stand and cheer
Encore!  Encore!

~~Peggy Osborne, Montana



Interpret Beauty
Not by eye nor ear
But by the feather of lightness
Lifting your heart soul

The You source feeling
Gently softening your eyes
Curving your mouth edges
As you breathe in
Whispering… “Yes”
Beauty transcends cultures
Mediums and time
We are it and it is us
Infinity dance of shared atoms
Defying definition

~~Kathleen Huntley, Idaho

Shoulder to shoulder
the years, like colorful birds.

Live not for the future
We live for today

Shoulder to shoulder
unique in our oneness.

~~Marcia McEachron, Minnesota


Kids’ Bee-Eater Poems from Tim Deyle’s fifth grade in Fargo, North Dakota

A sweet bunch of seven,
Looking up towards heaven.
The colors really shine,
They are so wonderfully fine.
The yellow, black and red,
On their cute little heads.
Sitting on a branch,
And never letting go.
~~Bella H.

Bee Eaters
Big black beaks
Upon a little bird.
Big brown head,
But a tiny body instead.
Yellow, red orange,
Feathers all around.
Claws, neck, head chest,
There are colors to be found.
~~Erica F.
Sitting on a branch,
Not flying away.
What are you thinking of,
Or are you thinking at all?
~~Preston A.

Poems evoked by this icy photo from INVITE #47


Listen to the fractured sounds
of fractal ice that forms near ground
Here to delight and comfort us
With soulful sounds of cool chaos
We on earth must survive
Humid heat of tropic skies
Along with the coldest cold
Flowing from the arctic poles
A molecule in heat will sing
Then when frozen it will ping
Telling every bird on wing
When is winter; when is spring
Music has for all of time
Danced on rhythms, pranced on rhymes
Teach us how to be at once
Both orchestra and audience
Stop to smell the roses
Stop to breathe fresh air
Listen to the concerts
Now playing everywhere

~~BruceDavidPeck, Minnesota


A FreezeThaw Portrait

So delicate,
edges sharply frozen
thin over languid,
peaceful and treacherous.

I could breathe you into my reflection,
a wobbling molecule mosaic

but I’ll watch till the sun
softens when it touches, 
subtracting the arabesque outline 
like a lace cookie,

sharp as this reflected illusion of me.

~~Linda Jensen Hansen, Minnesota


The Source

Cold drought of water
Scooped out betwixt ice-locked stepping stones
That stretch across the baby Mississippi
Fooled the Beaver!!
(And Giardia)
~~K. Ericsson, Minnesota


I have painted this sight before,
never replicating,
scratching through layers,
erasing with cloth,
honing the image
down to glass,
and always the voices appear,
as if from nowhere,
deep inside,
who I am.

~~Judith Mosby, Virginia



The painter’s brush is stolen
by the hand of nature.
She flourishes colors
shapes  into  exotic relationships
the human heart can only ponder.

~~Marcia McEachron, Minnesota


+ A haiku by Alayna T, age nine

Winter Haiku
Wintertime glitter
Dancing snowflakes everywhere
Darn! Lost my mittens!
~~Alayna T., Minnesota



Now and then midwinter seems to thaw.
Brave water carries sky and looks free.
But below the melt thick ice rules and will.
Each year, we are so eager to believe,
fooled by brief warm, our very skin
clamors that it’s true, must be--then
Memory knows we grab thin straws
in white-tipped fingers. Blood subsides.
Our yearning good for a wintry laugh,
At least there’s blue.
We plant our feet and listen
to the creak of snow at ten below
that song by heart we know.



The curves of butternut branches
swoop sweetly down all year round.
White snow/black bark.
long leaves green/ bark brown
Winter bark paints for us the lines.
Each curve even to thinnest twig
collects and holds its contrast
until breeze or squirrel
or perching chickadee.


Wind sculpts snow into
a perfect image of cold.
Sharp edges creep into wrists, ankles,
texture of grains predict skin,
shadows hint of early dark.
What then?


Sometimes country snowfall
grows a seductive sense
of isolation, a wintry bonus
called “snowed in.”
It is fine. You can’t help it.
Relax into the beauty
But by the time the plow
rumbles through its whiteout flurry,
be ready to be wired again
into your communal flustered hurry.



Cousins of wet phase
Cold phase

Long arms of stellar dendrite flakes
Link each to each as wind drifts them
Insists them into overhangs that
Stun gravity with beauty’s curves



A blur of blue
shadow edge and white

Snow grains fluid as Sahara sand
hone edges along paths of light
as wind sifts from the right.
Wind relies on shadow
to sculpt a roadside
and add dimension to the eye



In sleet and snow redbellied woodpecker
hammers suet from the feeder.
He is not elegant today,
his sleek red head is wet and cold.
He knows he is tough enough for storm,
his wide eye knows.

He is new this year:
May his beak and sharp tongue
winkle sweet bugs from under bark of every tree.
May he recognize his children’s children
and never fly at them.



Could the muskrats know
how beautiful is blown snow
as it sculpts their cattail home?
No. Aesthetics do not ease
the muskrat winter struggle,
but an extra blanket of snow
coating the dome home
is not to be sneezed at.


A white gull patrols
a tumult of winter waves
that crash and foam
on each black ridge of rock
off this volcanic shore
It takes sharp eyes
to spot ragged bits of food
torn and tossed in surf
Best to prowl the shore
when tide allows gull’s eye
to see a cracked kelp crab
yellow against black



A nuthatch leaves the feeder:
The blur of whipping wings captures
the urgency of storm for wild lives.
His clawed feet seem reluctant to release.
Usually secret russet thighs
sharpen the stress of sleet and snow.



Most days now in slight breeze,
fallen leaves suddenly disowned
skitter across snow
as if they quest new homes.

With breeze increase, oak leaves
stand like sails and en pointe roll
across the bright crust of snow until
they drop into a deer track

Slow oaks release
brown midwinter leaves
just when snow grows deep
enough for deer tracks to make
a place to rest until the melt

when they will crumble into soil
and release dissolved rock
last summer pulled by deep roots
up into buds that unfurled
and will again into green leaves
that this summer’s deer will reach



When last night’s snow decides
to stick to every branch and twig,
it paints an earth transformed
and brights awake the sleepy eye.

Delight is all that matters in the moment
as I stand within a land reborn
by water crystals cold and bound
and soon to fall to snow packed on the soil.
At my feet, thin three-toed tracks mark
the early search of chickadees for seed
or a beak of snow to melt and drink,
small lives that spark respect and love
and expand delight in this lively morning Earth.


Despite cold and clustered white,
flower buds of maple swell and grow
as longer days take hold.

Petals lie within buds wrapped in snow
prepared to shower hungry eyes with color,
Red! Red of rising sun and lifeblood’s birth,
Earth wet with it again, sap pumped up trunks
and spilling out the fountain tops
as flowers red and pollen gold

Perhaps to bless us for our wait
and bless the squirrels who nibbled holes
and wet dark bark with maple sap to lick
and learn once more that Earth is sweet.



A nuthatch in wet storm waits his turn.
We should not impose our own heart-lives
on other kinds, but today I can’t resist.
Nuthatch seems so distressed by snow & sleet
that I have joined him in his misery.

The coin of empathy has two sides at least.
It arrives in us through pain
but it can leave us with other’s joy at being seen
or leave us bitterly confused.

Me, I can’t help the nuthatch through his misery,
but I do keep the feeder full.
Beyond this moment, that’s not nothing.
He reminds me, though, that weather
is just weather; we’ve survived extremes.


2.22.2013 INVITE to WRITE #50 and Response to INVITE #49

A long-billed curlew walks toward you as a morning tide withdraws. She has not-quite webbed toes that serve her well in tide slosh. I’m not sure why, but I find her charming. The almost crossed legs are part of that, and the impression of just waking up. Contemplate the photo and see where it takes your writing.

Writing for INVITE #50 is due Wed. March 6. Please email to
No attachments or PDFs, please.

Apparently there was some mix-up with the anemone stinkhorn photo; some did not receive it; no doubt my bad. I am sorry.
But the writing received is worthy of your attention. Enjoy, and if you wish to compliment a writer, email me, and I will forward to the author.


When the sweet juice of the peach
drips from my lips,
I am the lion at its feast.

Life requires we break the skin
dig deep, savor--LIVE.


Life commands "Eat"
to thrive, we comply.

~~Marcia McEachron, Minnesota


Creature Feature (for Voyeurs)

cinema does no favors
for the love of nature
when we don’t understand
dependent harmony

bloody this and
bloody that
in creepland you know
it’s gonna getcha

so don’t we shy and shriek
when red and tissue and insect

intersect in survival
simply doing their jobs

with all their skills
so horribly laced
in a private mystery
we can see for free

~~Linda Jensen Hansen, Minnesota


In a Fly's Eye

Evolution does decree
What is best for you and me

to know the beautiful and good
Is according to the 'hood

Our wheel of likely navigation
guarantees some procreation

(And Without the recreation)

No dancing to a beat
To create the bodies heat

No rare perfum'ed potions
Nor exotic scented lotions

Not Dior nor Schiaparelli
Just the smell of aging deli

I guess that you could say
That desire will have its way

And a million permutations
Assure exuberant relations

~~ Peggy Osborne, Montana


The Devil's the Lord of the Flies,
and the stinkhorn anemone's his
natural home, passionate blooming
of vegetable phallus in full glory
lusty red or wanton pink appendages:
beckoning tongues or wiggling legs advertising
prurient delinquency to randy eyes, or
scatological greenish brown 
slime-stink to be enjoyed at the center.
The stench of dunglike gleba smeared
at the joining point invites coprophilic flies,
the green team and the blue team,
to teem in a scrum atop the gooey mess
at the center of everything these glossy- 
winged fairgoers—or foulgoers—
could want while on holiday
at the center of activity—attention directed
to the deliquescence, and delighted
by the dung-spiced invitation to a 
sporty wallow in the essence of bad meat
ready-rotted, predigested, freshly excreted
for the delight of insect lechers
competing for a blue ribbon
signifying fly-born feasting-passion
perfected. And the spores move on
to new seasons, new fair-grounds, new teams
waging competitive gluttony, delivering
new quantities of spores to start new games.

~~John Calvin Rezmerski, Minnesota


And here are two versions of Sara DeLuca’s offering to the Lord of the Flies. I like both the original and the revision. I hope you do as well. If you do, let her know, through me, and save me from a scolding.

The Stinkhorn Speaks
Most poets write of truth and beauty.
Few will praise my putrid scent,
my spongy flesh, my trickery.
Mine is not a lovely bloom,
yet it sustains more lives
than any rose or lily. 
See how the winged ones dive
into my moist, throbbing center,
feed and mate
and hatch more hungry flies.    
They of the compound eyes
find me compelling. 
They say it pays, sometimes,
to follow your nose.
I say that beauty is in the eyes
(or nose)  of the beholder.
I say that flies can be intelligent,
stinkhorns can be elegant,
and poets can be silly.

The Stinkhorn Speaks
Most poets write of truth and beauty.
Few would praise my putrid scent,
my spongy flesh, my trickery.
Mine is not a lovely bloom,
yet it is more compelling to a nosy fly
than any rose or lily.  See
how the winged ones dive
into my moist, rotten center,
where they hope to mate and multiply.
They of the compound eyes
can't see the truth:  I offer nothing.
I have lured them to dispense my spores
across the forest floor.  Voila!
Stinkhorns galore!
My plan is smelly, but intelligent,
my purpose elegant.  This is the stuff of poetry.
But who will laud the lowly stinkhorn?
With poets it's always clouds and daffodils.
How silly.
 ~~Sara DeLuca, Georgia



A small sapling shivers in the shadow
of a surf made of snow,
a surf that were it sea and foam
would smash the sapling flat.

Mothers used to say
“Should’a, could’a, would’a,
Deal with what’s in front of you.”


A flicker wonders where the easy suet went.
Her colors stun, her patterns,
Black breast spots against amber,
Black bib, russet throat climbs intense around her eyes,
Black-barred back on brown,
Yellow shafts bright along her primaries,
Gray cap with carmine chevron for a nape.
Her unwiped beak hosts suet, and at the nib
the very tip of her barbed tongue
that curls around her skull ‘till called in spring
by delectable ants tart with formic acid.


Along the pool shore breeze swirled snow
into shapes that top a cone of Dairy Queen,
Shapes of winter earth older than time
mirrored in soft ice cream.
Even in this cold, saliva seeks my tongue.

top of page



















































































































































































































































































































































































top of page