About Gay Reiser Cannon

Writer, Poet, Musician, Mother, Grandmother, Nature Lover, Book Lover, In All Things Curious - a dilettante - somewhat eccentric - but not too far out of the main stream.

Earth’s Loss

Ogborone from the book MASKE - art photos  © Phyllis Galembo

Ogborone from the book MASKE – art photos © Phyllis Galembo

It seems an annual vile masquerade
of camouflage that masks the great deceit –
to hunt is justified. By their intrigue
of luring forest dwellers to descend
into their traps, what they, in fact, desire
is pleasuring themselves by deaths to possess

the total aggregate the animals possess.
They claim they need their meat; but masquerade
their true intent, the festering desire
for more: gain power, conquer by deceit.
They don’t assess the cost as they descend
into blood lust while plotting new intrigue.

A few demented minds who use intrigue,
inflict great pain on creatures who possess
no natural defense to guns. Descend
into those psyches, strip their masquerade.
Their cruel methods reveal deceptions
enhance their want, their weapons, their desire.

Do they respect the creatures’ needs, their desire
to feed and shelter their own young? Intrigue
and dark designs may yield more deceit
as they, like men of old, who tracked, possess
some now unneeded skills. This fact they masquerade
as need before they take their young, descend

again to ritualistic haunts, descend
with cautious words as they’re the prey desired
by deer or elk. Sometimes they masquerade
while dressed in their dead furs, suppose intrigue.
The animals would plot demise, and would possess
outstanding skill, while using wild deceit.

These men presume their minds would craft deceit
like wolf, or bear or fox. This lore allows descent
to worlds of mythic times where they possess
more skill than they’ve acquired; when need, desire
made hunting mandatory by intrigue,
when their survival was not masquerade.

Through their deceit and mad-to-kill desire,
the hunters now descend through wild intrigue;
possess a madness through their masquerade.

© Gay Reiser Cannon

A Sestina – (my second) – posted for day 13 on Writer’s Digest PAD for April Poetry Month and posted for 4.15.14 for my friend Anthony’s prompt using Phyllis Galembo’s fine arts photographs. 

The Rapacious

My eyes
can see the dark
and hidden places where
they meet to steal the wealth beneath
our feet, contaminate the air we breathe.
They play a propaganda game,
extolling wealth that will
be gained as they
the threat they pose
to water, air, and land.
Distracting us with techno toys
as they position mean machines that tear
the gas and oil from mile deep rocks.
Those profits will enrich
the haughty few
with lives
of Gatsby wealth
insured by covert schemes
while taking it away from those
who need it most. They’re drilling deep below
our homes, releasing side effects –
disease and parasites.
Cabals control
by lies,
denying deeds;
their greed has cost great tolls
for earth and all who dwell thereon.
What they forget is even wealth will not
protect them from the ravages
that they’ve unleashed. They too
may face what they

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 4.8.2014

in response to the form I composed and named “Falling Diamonds”  or the “Quarrel” (so named for a quarrel window – made of diamond shaped window panes).

It is composed of a series of lines beginning with one line of one iambic foot, then two, three, four, five, four, three, two iambic feet and then again one iambic foot where the one foot lines must rhyme. Basically then the form is blank verse that is shaped in diamonds or triangles with one sustaining middle rhyme. You may choose to add either internal or end rhymes as well but the only requirement is for the one foot lines to rhyme. Hyphenating end words is prohibited. A minimum of two diamonds should be made.

It occurs to me (after having written this poem) that an interesting use of the form would be to devote each diamond to one viewpoint and the next to the opposing viewpoint, a debate, a true quarrel.

Of Age and Spring

Thinning Live Oak Trees in my front yard. Photo by me taken 3.29.14

Thready, bare limbs, a few scant leaves hold fast.
Live Oaks, near stripped of leaves, their neighbors fill.
I pray that drought, neglect won’t spur demise.
Majestic guards who welcome guests with shade
throughout each year, repelling frost and sun.
To lose them now when they are needed most
would change my home, and wound my caring self.

We age like that– a halting step, dark spots
a brush that fills with hair, split nails.
We want the sun but fear a fall, a chill.
Then Spring comes in with fragrant flowered breath
And we arise to wave our arms and dance.
In rainbow shirts we frolic in the park
We braid our hair with daisies and we sing!

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 3.29.2014



A fog rolled in today; I thought about
my life, how people suddenly arrive;
how you were like that fog. When everything
fell out, broke down, or died, I turned around
and you were there. You said you’d never leave
and I believed. You did stay true but once
again the fog rolled in and took away
your life.
At last it cleared. Bright heat
and clarity led me on unknown paths.
Through deserts bleak and broken woods I trod.
I stopped to work, to help, to read, then fled
again.  This time the sea in rolling roars
called out to me, a place to delve the fogs
that swirl within, as well as out.  This time
I shipped my disbelief on autumn’s tide.

I know that strangers linger in the mist,
that purpose changes as the seasons do,
that softness strengthens through the longer light,
that ice breaks wood as well as tender hearts.

I stand, a lonely palm upon the beach.
I will provide relief to those in need.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved * 3.27.14

For Tony’s Blank Verse article today @dVersepoetspub
Stop by to read and/or post your own.

Hear, hear!

Historians musicians and present-day otologists
continue to speculate why Beethoven went deaf
and marvel that he was able to compose the Ninth and Ode to Joy.

I remember studying Eliot’s poetry,
reading how he thought Beethoven’s quartets
were meant to be audited, in depth, later in life.

They affected Eliot deeply, changed his spirituality.
I thought I might wait ’til I was mature to be enriched
by the string quartets; but when I reached that accepted stage,

I was still listening to his symphonies; trying to play his sonatas.
I now know I am never going to play the Apassionata as it
requires two hands to play four hands’ worth of notes.

I manage to acceptably play the Moonlight, and with patience
deliver the Pathétique. That brings me to the present, a time
in life most would say is past being simply “mature”.

Nevertheless, this week I downloaded his sixteen quartets.
I determined that I better get started understanding them.
Though I wonder if I haven’t waited too late for spiritual

and poetic enrichment because I, too, am going deaf.
I may not have time to absorb their spiritual depth
and be transformed into a poet of deeper meaning and merit.

But I shall try…as long as I can hear at all…I shall try.

Not sure this qualifies as a poem, but it is about another sense besides sight. I dread going any more deaf. For now it’s low voices and low noises I’m missing but it is continuing and not much can be done my doctor says.
In response to Brian’s request for poetry without images today..using other senses. 
© Gay Reiser Cannon * 3.13.14


overflowingbowlLOUD, Bold, Imposing………that’s me in public and I don’t know why.
I could guess and say “I was an only child, I needed attention, I was lonely”.
Probably not the reasons…I have had a husband, have children, have grandchildren, have friends and yet I constantly talk when I shouldn’t. I don’t always let others finish, and the older I get and the deafer I get, the LOUDER I get.

(Why do I write?)
I could say because I didn’t have the time, money, training and (very likely) the talent to become a great musician. Music is my first love and words are my second … now it’s easy to see why it’s poetry for me: that’s where they join together. When I am quiet (that is when I am alone) I fill up with words and phrases and sometimes with letters. The alphabet still thrills me. I like making letters. Good at penmanship, I just wanted to FONT those letters.  If I don’t talk for awhile, I become a cistern with words dripping in. WORDS Words words words words words words..the filling and the spilling of the words.

(what threatens)
Time and laziness and self-doubt threaten me. I am in awe of so many poets I read. I fall in love with a poem, say Brian or Claudia or Hedgewitch or any one of you writes, and I don’t want to do anything but re-read it and think about it. I roll around on the words and then I think I don’t know how to do that, I never thought of that, I could never have come up with that and I STOP!  It doesn’t mean I don’t want to read more or write more, but I want to think more, and try to think why I can’t write as creatively, not that way but my way, Then I get lazy, time slips away and life interrupts. I want to change, I re-read old poems of my own and sometimes want to destroy them and other times think,”not so bad”. I pledge I will stop this (if I can).

(why will I continue)
Again the cistern fills. Again the words at the brim. Because I have found people who will actually read them. Because my banker told me one day that she reads every poem I link to facebook and is happy she knows someone who writes; that my words touch her.
I want to write for the same reasons Margaret Atwood listed but most of all it’s because if I don’t, my head might blow off and all those words would flood my house — all unconnected and making no sense to anyone. I write to try to make sense of it, to arrange and order the words, to create something of joy, of love, of beauty.

Oooops I exceeded the limit!

Gay Cannon 3.6.2014


Origami-craneI remember when the origami crane named Poetry
flew into my disordered life
I was lying on my second-floor bed staring out the
window into the trees.
As the breeze whispered its secrets to me,
Poetry landed on my pillow
compelling me to unfold and discover;
the first fold opened with a tick, tock, metronomic clock
and I smiled thinking it a robot;
I unfolded its wing and heard the sweetest melody
agreeing, at first, with the clocklike beat,
then becoming looser, freer, stirring my imagination.
I rolled it out flat after that, running my fingers along
the creases, trying to guess what lay between the lines.
A swelling of emotion arose in me, a curiosity as well.
I began to love this little unfolded page, I wanted to make it fly again.
I tried to refold it, to re-invent the flying crane.
I’ve been trying to get it right ever since then.
Once in a while, I get it to fly again – when I think very hard,
imagine very deep, and try with all my heart.

© Gay Reiser Cannon – 3.4.2014

A Skating Mother’s Journey to the Olympics


Only a mother knows that dedication
Rising before four, often new rinks, new places;
things you need for the drive and the practice.
In those days, not one pair of skates but
two – start with figures (patch) skating turns with precision.

Your skater alert at last, changes boots, jackets, other things;
on to free style and then repeat, pay for ice,
drive back hoping that rush traffic doesn’t cut
you off; you glance over, see him as he traces
on his bookcover –brackets, threes on olympic rings.

Later on partners, new coaches – rush, delay
waiting on costumes, new blades, shaking but-
terflies before he skates then races
over to find out the results, meeting your eyes
with his looks of satisfaction or fierce dismay.

Decisions, money, time, travel, loss and gain
I know the competion rungs, the tarnish and the graces.
I’ve felt the courage, the joy, the hurt and anger disguised
with smiles, fists in gloves inside pockets – clenched shut.
Finally they open, ready to give him control over that joy and pain.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 2014 * All Rights Reserved
This poem is a Karousel (so appropriate for a sport that goes round and round and round).
The form was invented by David James and his article can be found here.
I am posting for d’Versepoets today on OpenLinkNight

In The Still of the Night

clouds and crescent moonIt all began with a midnight drive.
Far apart at first, then pulled to your side.
Frail Clouds sailed past the moon that night,
A crescent omen that said you’d lied.

I felt a twinge, bet I could wage
You were a soul that could not be saved,
An angelic bad-boy’s bargain made,
I guessed you owned another face.

You knew my mother was a nurse,
that I spent my free time at church,
that I sometimes longed for something worse,
But I kept a crucifix in my purse,

The road home was a long way back,
A touchstone reached, and a crossroads passed.

©Gay Reiser Cannon * 2/13/14 * All Rights Reserved

One Unsung Hero

1939 An American couple ask the aid of a doorman.

Standing talking to the doorman outside Grosvenor House, an American woman
and man seem to be a couple on holiday in London. The day was cold but not as
cold or surreal as the year, 1939. Craziness, the jazz, the modern, the movement
of life, of energy, of hate, of joy, of transcendence, of all things joyous, or all things
monstrous were being placed into the cauldron that was Europe.

A spring day in April, the cruelest month was more cruel than any dreamed of in1922
by Eliot. This chill wind heralded the beginnings of genocide, the power of a mentally
diseased tyrant plotting world domination by setting the planet on fire, by destroying
millions of lives and changing life on earth forever after.

This gentle looking couple were not lovers or married. She, who only sought
peace, this Unitarian woman from Boston named Martha Sharp had seen what was
happening in Poland and in Prague. She had already arranged shelter for 35 refugee
children, was seeking a place for many more. The man may have been a friend,
a secret British agent, an American spy, or a wealthy American Jew.

The map of Greater London was meant to help them persuade people there, in a country teetering on the brink of war to stretch beyond personal safety, to comprehend the incomprehensible, to find a center of courage. This brave woman would find homes for many, many young children ripped from all they knew and housed in a foreign land with a strange language to assure the continuance of a faith, of a culture, of a people whose history had been marked by movement, a diaspora begun six centuries before Christ. Like so many that year and the following ones, she simply decided to risk everything to save others.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 1.30.2014 * All Rights Reserved
The photograph is one from the Getty Collection of Vintage Pictures. This is not a picture of Martha Sharp but this is her story.