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

Morning Earth Healing Images
by John Caddy

April 2013

click thumbs to enlarge


The pelican reaches apogee
finds a flutter of bait fish below
and from the sky begins to dive.
Primary feathers spread
like reaching fingers
as the wind of the dive
spreads them wide.
The great bird caught
in the root hunt
breaks the sea beak first
and fills his wiggling pouch.


Fanciful Fairy Duster blooms earliest
in spring, spurns night cold.
It presents no desert spines,
its weapon and defense is beauty
fantastic here in blazing days.
In awe I yield.
As fairy duster blooms without protection,
cactus have begun to deploy
their own unlikely flowers in thorn surround.
Spring desert disarms us with surprise.
but keeps its armaments alive.

Note: Photo from Anza-Borego desert,California


Acorn woodpecker
routs a hole in oak
to pop an acorn in
for family and friends
to cherish on a rainy day.
What a face our rapper has!
Clown eye bright with mirth,
hourglass white
the carmine cap,
to suggest sobriety
the guile of feathers black.
His hammer sounds for miles.
With each loud tap
acorns shiver in their caps,
but he would only store them now
in smooth-bored larder holes
in the oak that may have borne them.

Note: Please share this with a child and the one inside you.



California towhee halts his song
to impale me with his eyes.
Somewhere in the salt marsh
a female notes the singing gone.
Yes I do intrude,
I am the other two-legged kind.
Please go on with song.
If you fly I may follow.



Named for Nahuatl torch,
Ocotillo flowers fire my eyes
as flush with spring
they bestow their offerings
to hummingbird and bee,
light a season’s flame in me.


Gentian blue startles
a quick inhale.
In the dry arroyo,
desert canterbury bells
grow small with large impact
on eyes attuned to quartz and bright.
Red stems, green toothed leaves,
a swirl of pollen gold
dances from the open bell.

Note: Photo from Joshua Tree Nat’l Park, CA



A sea otter scratches her chin
the touch of claws
sensation so sweet
she must invoke her teeth.

Note: Photo in Elkhorn estuary, Moss Landing, CA



Desert speaks without sound
Plant skeletons stand for seasons
until rains roil arroyos again
The plants are spined,
with a bleached elegance
austere as arroyo sand.


Some man named this basking lizard
a fool who could not hear around
the sound of blotch,
a fool who could not see its rows of blue
and orange,
the crescent moon below the eye,
scale patterns
caught in Pima basketry.


4.12.2013 INVITE to WRITE #51

Today’s startling INVITE photo is courtesy of Dianne Anestos, through the courtesy of Sara DeLuca, a regular INVITE writer. Thanks to both these women. The photo combines the usually separate elements of ocean and tree. How are they together? What could be happening here? The photographer calls the photo Earth’s Shadow.

A strong sense of loss is augmented by the twilit colors of dusk or dawn. The incoming wave is dynamic, and inserts the photo into now, the present moment. Please contemplate the photo and see where it takes your writing.
Again I remind you that INVITE to WRITE is not a competition. Rather, it is an opportunity to share within the Morning Earth community. Teachers, use the photo as a writing prompt and send in student work. All work submitted will be published and archived, both via email and on the Morning Earth Website,

Please send your responses by Wednesday April 24. They will be published Friday April 26. Teachers, please provide students first names only.
If you find that a submitted poem particularly pleases you, please let the writer know. Send your response to me, and I will pass it on. Send to
Thank you.



Pollen dangles on hind legs
as a bee homes in on
new flowers ready to give
so both may grow and live.
Spring desert blossoms
offer pollen and sweets
to bees hungry for the chance
to feed the pale brood
waiting in their cells
to grow and join the dance.

Note: Photo in Anza Borrego desert, CA


Exhausted on the mudflat
lies mother seal
while her newborn
finds the teat and pulls
fat milk into its need.

Note: Photo of harbor seals at Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA


On an ocean dune where
grasses spring green
in tribute to rain
a cottontail uplifts
the tail that gave Peter
his last name.

Photo: Dunes at Moss Landing State Beach, CA




Madonna sea otter holds her round pup
across her belly where she nurses.
The pup’s dense fur holds
so many bubbles she bobs
like a cork while mother dives for food.
They rest. Both warm bare paws in air.
The pup lifts her head and stares.
The camera can’t detect the halos.

Note: Photo Elkhorn Slough,Moss Landing CA


Chaparral yucca shoots its purple flower stalk
eight feet through its ring of bayonet leaves.
How the purple of the stalk paints each blossom bell.
Yucca moths will rise from soil to tend these flowers.
Females and males meet and mate on one plant in flower
where she will collect pollen and hold it under her chin
How the flowers of each stalk bell open bottom to top.
She will fly to find another plant in flower,
place a small ball of pollen on ready flower stigmas,
insert a few eggs into each ovary,
where her young will eat and grow alongside seeds.
How the moth restrains her egg laying.
How vast seeds overwhelm rodent jaws in this mast year

Chaparral yucca blooms once and slowly dies
adult yucca moths mate, lay eggs, pollinate,
hang out in flowers, and and as they seed, die.
Moth caterpillars drop to soil, dig in,
line a hollow with silk, pupate, and diapause a year or two.
How they know when to emerge and dry new wings.
These green and insect lives are spent getting ready.
The climax conjures hearts and sky.

Note: photos from Cleveland Nat’l. Forest, CA


Buckhorn cholla opens flowers to desert sun,
every antler point another bud grown red.
Beebuzz intones each opened bloom.
Soon wrens will build nests in cholla forks
so predators will find not eggs but spines.

Note: Photo Anza-Borrego desert, CA


Avocet strides the tideflats,
stretches blue shanks with webbed toes.
Its beak curves up like my lips when
I get lucky and see Spring’s classic child,
adult plumage only halfway to cinnamon.

Note: Photo Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA


Chuparaosa flowers offer open lips
to hummingbird and bee
hunters of nectar and pollen,
a visual “Take me, I’m yours,”
as if a desert orchid writ large
on branches bare of leaves.

Note: Photo in Anza-Borrego desert, CA



The day after snowstorm, a tiny iris
melts its way into sunlight.
Once these petals found light
dark purple reaped infra red
and helped the snowmelt,
but before, when it began to thrust
from soil through inches of new white
how did it melt that first snow?
Left-over metabolic heat? Who knows?
Today’s sun will bring small green bees.
Fair mystery ripe to be embraced.

Photo: Rural Forest Lake, MN 4.23.13

4.26.2013 INVITE to WRITE #52


A simple photo for Invite #52—
Insistent shoots of green life break through blacktop, maybe on a road, maybe in a parking lot. Many responses to this event are possible. What is yours? Please contemplate the photo and see where your writing takes you.
Your response to is due Wednesday, May 8, and will be published Friday, May 10. No attachments, please.

Email to

Teachers. This one is made-to-order for the classroom. Please invite your kids to write. Guaranteed publication.

Consistently interesting responses came in for INVITE #51’s intriguing photo by Dianne Anastos. Read and enjoy.
If you find a response whose writing pleases you, do share this with the writer. Email me and I will pass it on.


The sea, the sea!
Mother of all life
Upon our unique orb;
Everlasting, she outlives
Her earthly creatures.
And, as all the glaciers
And the permafrost
Thaw out and flow,
She reclaims her offspring,
Arboreal and animal--
Perhaps including
Even you and me.

~~David R. Brink, Minnesota

Thoughts on Photo 51 (original)

Trees strangely awash at water's edge,
Grasping more than senses can embrace;
Beckoning Sea, withdrawing Land, the daily siren call of Sunset. 
The waters are insistent, the sands consuming, the colors
Fading to dark, remind us of endings and beginnings.

~~Frank Hawthorne, Minnesota



The oceans rise.  
Creatures once at water's edge are now six feet under. 
They crawl toward the shallows, but it will be a three-year's journey  
As waters deepen.  

This forest stands as cemetery markers to the new now.  
Scraggy arms rise in silent prayer.

~~Beth Waterhouse, Minnesota


Edge of Time
We can attempt
to save the blue and pink
and golden fire of sunset,
suspend the waves,
frame barren trees
against the sky.
Lacking time
and depth of field,
we must be satisfied
to focus on the mystery.

~~Sara De Luca, Georgia


Moment and Mystery

Past memory brings me back to a similar scene
Captivated by the lure of this moment…..
An ethereal moment.
The hues of dusk act as an ether
For my photographic creativity.
My thoughts wonder.
Is this a clue to the existence of life made possible
By the many mysteries not meant to be understood?
A multitude of organisms under me feet,
Millions of creatures in the sea,
And living with us on this planet earth.
Where did this all begin? A single cell?
Multiplied by millions to give the breath of life?

~~ Dianne Anastos, South Carolina


Time is a downhill slope
       that tracks a strange illusion.
Wasting away suspends
       memories of otherwheres
               and elsewhiles in places
      called past and nevermore.
For death not always traces a
      going away missing.
              Mayhap a standing in place
      foreboding defies a new tomorrow.
Though the water moves
      it may not hold life.
              Though the trees stand still
      they may not forget
              murky longings
      for fulfillment.
Now a Martian like landscape
      speaks only of what was
              and each new day
      evolves into used to be

~~Bruce David Peck, Minnesota


Cormorant slaps water high
in a trail of three splashes
as it runs to take off,
wings wide, feathers spread
against air like fingers,
beak slightly open, tail down.
My muscles contract as they reply.

Note: Photo Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA


The yellow stigma of the barrel cactus
tops the thick style like tentacles of a sea anemone
that tremble only when a bee lands to pollinate.
Below, a host of yellow anthers tops red filaments
that will lift and dance once bees have blessed the center
and imported pollen bored down to green ovules.

Note: Photo Anza-Borrego desert, CA























top of page

copyright © 2013 Morning Earth