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John Caddy
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John Caddy's
Morning Earth Poems
September 1999



On a String Made of Dark

Before sunrise Venus burns bright
with reflected sunfire while she tugs
through the sky a huge balloon
that floats over her head, bulging and white
a balloon we call the Moon.



Short days tell the paper wasps to seek warmth, so
on these Autumn days when still the sun falls full
from a boundless blue bowl of sky
the doomed papermakers dangle long legs and
float helpless outside our windows
bumping the glass, nudging the walls.
Life just wants life.


Paper wasps rarely sting, only when they feel attacked. As wasps go they are gentle.



The Rhythms of Colored Leaves
(to be read aloud, slowly)

Brown leaves of ironwood,
Yellow leaves of poplar,
Reddened leaves of maple
Orange leaves of birch,
Russet leaves of oak,
Maroon leaves of plum,
Cinnamon fronds of fern,
Green needles of spruce
Mushrooms white.

Ironwood leaves of brown
Poplar leaves of yellow,
Maple's reddened leaves,
Birches' leaves of orange
Oakleaves russet,
plum maroon,
fern fronds cinnamon
Spruce needles green
White mushroom thrust

Brown leaves of ironwood,
Poplar leaves of yellow,
Spruce leaves black and green
Reddened leaves of maple
Birches' leaves of orange
Russet leaves of oak,
plum maroon,
Cinnamon of fern,
Mushrooms white.


It's often a good idea to listen to poems with eyes closed.
Let the words paint pictures in your mind.

Loving names and season colors. Notice and note your local plants and autumn colors. Many pieces of writing begin as lists. Post-it notes (or small slips of paper) work well. Write one phrase (e.g. greens of chaparral) on each piece, then when you have several phrases written, arrange the post-its in the 'best' order, by playfully trying out different arrangements and reading them aloud (yes, really aloud—it's crucial) for the most pleasing rhythms and sounds. You will be learning ordering skills, the least taught writing skill. You will begin to develop a concept of your own written productions as malleable, arrangeable.