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John Caddy
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John Caddy's
Morning Earth Poems
September 20003



With wasp and bee
hums the tall lobelia,
and as the pollinators land
on the blue lips of open blooms,
the lips tremble as if
the flower is unsure
of this weight of pollination.


The last rush of nectar is upon us. Hummingbirds hurry to put on weight for their flight to Yucatan, bees of one shape and all sizes tumble late bloomers while paper wasps bump windows.



This small green frog
hunts drinkers of nectar
on flower hubs of chocolate,
climbs wheels of gold.

This young green treefrog
hunts bees and wasps
among the black-eyed susans.
When the frog strikes well,

he gulps down
stinger and venom,
pollen and buzz.
This quick-tongued marvel
turns venom into such food
as will keep him through cold.


We should not fear for small green frogs who ingest poison; they have been eating wasps and bees since the invention of buzz. Milagro treefrog!



Cool water arcs from the hose
through hot sun.
Dust as it splats on soil.
A dragonfly rattles in,
hovers just over the arc
near my hand,
dips its jaws into silver,
zooms off into light.


The dragonfly dipping a drink from the hose was such an unexpected moment of delight. It’s a fine thing to give a gift you didn’t know you were giving.



The tall egret leans
forward as it slowly
lifts and lowers each
dark back-hinged leg.
The white neck leans
tense with desire
to slash down
its beak of gold.

The muscle tension and incredible focus of predators is beautiful. It stirs the soup of species memory.



When rains finally fall,
a treefrog burbles and chortles
from a high wet leaf.

Faces tilt up,
mouths open,

In long grass, grasshoppers
and little black crickets
nuzzle pearls.

On the feeder
a soaked young jay
coos deep in his throat.


We are graced by long-awaited rain. Every being with a voice started talking at once. The leaves did too.


Out to get the paper,
I think the car from the east
has slowed so I can pass,
but the driver is intent ahead.
I look west.

He dwarfs the killed raccoon.
Morning’s eagle stands solid
and tall as a longstone, as if
a root reaches from his talons
to the core of Earth.

Eye-bright in early sun, beak
gold and huge with bloody hook.
When he surges up and gathers air,
how broad and white his fan,
how finely scribed each feather.


Magnificent being! I am entirely privileged to have been so close. Minutes later, he returned and tugged the raccoon off the blacktop.



Let go.
Slap leaves
all around
all the loud
way down
to plop
on ground,

The hope is for germination, which often works best if a ja
y or squirrel buries the acorn and forgets to come back for it in winter.



Painted lady butterflies
of a sudden everywhere
blooming through air
Paused on red clovers,
half open wings toss
orange and black,
copper and white
back to sun,
their bodies
glove-soft rust.

Folded wings are
cuneiform on
bark of birch.
Before the painted ladies’ eyes
On the tips of
invisible antennae
two orbs of white
dance to the music
of sensation.


All the painted ladies in the North fly here from the South. It takes much of the summer. Painted ladies die off in the north every winter, and try to colonize every summer. This is why they are most everywhere on earth. Europe’s painted ladies fly up from North Africa. Talk about being ready for global warming.


In the field, myriad small grasshoppers
leap away from my legs like a living fan.
Cold will end them
but everywhere they sing.

South wind tears off leaves,
gives grasses voice
as they bend, as

old white-haired thistles
stream silk-seeds into sky
as dreamed.


Early autumn is all of a piece: wind roar, seeds dispersed, songs of innocence.


Wood ducks arrow through night,
land each day to feed in threes and fives.
Three sit on a pond log, resting at dawn, ease
out into duckweed, beaks ajar
for this duck treat, return to the log
to preen and wiggle tails.

A blue heron swoops down
to land on its favorite log,
dips a wing at the ducks,
almost cups them in its scoop.
Two fill sky with plaintive cries;
one paddles so fast
he cuts a rent in green.
The heron stretches his neck,
gazes his domain.


The wood ducks are exhausted, but happily, there are many ponds here. Large predators lord it over all. We excuse them for their beauty.



Short weeks ago
marsh milkweed
lured the monarch
to taste its sweets and carry pollen
in the throated rush of summer.

Now at equinox she thrusts seeds
at the sun, spears erect
as quivered arrows fletched with silk
on her sunlit candelabra.


At root, life is a circle of offerings and receivings. Reciprocity is the key. I love to see the milkweeds and the monarchs so intertwined.



Sumac begins to turn,
mirrors velvet berries,
releases the fire already in leaves

Tall asters startle blue, splash
a million stars around the ponds,
each centered with a sun.

White asters perform
constellations, whole Milky Ways.

Goldenrod saved light all summer
to sprawl sun through fields.

As above, so below.


The most ancient principle of magic is ‘as above, so below.’ These solar and stellar correspondences are connections we intuitively know. We always have.



When the great heron
decides I’ve come too close,
he opens and flies so low
the tips of his blue wings skim lily pads.
When he lands at the inlet
he doesn’t bank, does not splash,
just folds his wings like praying hands.


Sometimes the cousins say it for us.


On the walk,
a gravel hill so steep
deer tracks are a slide-foot long,
even the fawn’s.

So cold now at night
katydid does
all three syllables

Forty chill degrees
and still
make the mating wheel

So many black-faced hornets
clamber about,
the goldenrod sags.

Goldfinches land on rag-white thistles,
curve them down,
snipping seeds, tossing silks aside.
When the seedhead bends too far,
they leap to the next one up.


The time of turning is upon us. The cousins meet it with such fine aplomb. The ‘yellow-legged’ meadowhawks above are small tough dragonflies that seem to mate until they freeze out.


The bright pheasant
arrows through light,
flies so close my cheek
feels his wind, so close
his crimson head
burns in me for hours.


The exhilaration of such surprise lifts me entirely into the moment.



Black-brown-black woolly bears
rush again across the road,
south to north as every fall.
I rescue those I can, as every fall, glad
for their curve inside my palm,
for their bristles
that have rested in my hand
sixty some odd years.
I bend again and walk across
to set the curled one down
and wince: this bending
used to be easy.


“Brown” is a poor word for the lovely russet of the caterpillar who is gorgeous in the present instead of when winged.