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John Caddy
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John Caddy

Photo credit St. Paul Pioneer Press

 

I am an aging poet whose spirit is more lively all the time. I live near Forest Lake, Minnesota on ten acres of woods, marsh and ponds, with my wife Lin, and four excellent cats. I have published several books, mostly poetry, but also about arts education. I have reviewed childrens’ books for Riverbank Review. I've performed my poetry onstage with jazz musicians and dancers. I have read on both coasts of America and extensively in Cornwall, Britain. I spend too much of my time gazing out the window, which habit, once upon a time, helped me survive school. My heart is hidden under a pine tree in the North Woods of Minnesota, where it steadily beats. My relationship with Mother Nature has at times raised eyebrows. Suffice it to say we are close. Below are links to a few of the hats I wear:

 
  Naturalist
 
  Cornishman
 
  Poet
 
  Teacher

 

John Caddy at First Light by Joe Paddock

 

I see him in mind, struggling yet
against the clutch of stroke, lurching
drag-foot out into the pre-dawn dark
of his yard, down to the sedgey rim
of the pond where he stands, listening
to a breath of air through dark leaves,
peeping and croaking at water's edge,
the overhead whistling of wings,
flutter and splash, guttural quack....


Sounds he translates now
easily after sixy years
of such listening. Standing there, knowing
so much of the intricate green labyrinth
within which he searches, knowing
its circles and edges, knowing
how little he knows,
that it's best at the edge
of ignorance to simply stand
in awe, breathe praise, perhaps sing
a little.


Enough light now
for faint sight, and a muskrat, startled
by this silent presence leaning on a cane,
slashes its tail savagely and dives,
and a great blue heron floats down
from gray sky to take its stand
on the opposite shore, silent, too,
and fully sensate, waiting at the brink
of day.


Enough absorbed to fill his need,
the man turns from that edge
of awe and laboriously returns
under an array of birdfeeders
to his back door.


Inside, he touches the computer to first light,
and perhaps just as the great heron's beak
hungrily hits water, his finger strikes
a key, and a small poem begins
with little hesitation to fill the screen, brimming
with peep and croak and whistling wings,
stuff of the new dawn, translated, then sent
suddenly out to be caught in a net where,
in an hour, half-awake friends and, later,
clear-eyed children in classrooms, unknowing
all it took to bring it there, will discover it,
alive and struggling and wise.

 

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