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.

Fair Days


When the sunlight’s soft yellow
coloring leaves from within;
soft skies streaked with blue ribbons
pierce tall pines scumbed stark green;
when squashes and pumpkins
seem to get more gold than their share–
once again it’s time for the fair.

“I wanted the music to go on forever”
I wanted us to be easy and gay.
I wanted the lights to dance on the river
like stars turned on night and day.
We would be children then and forever
hop-scotching our likes, teasing our loves.
We would ride boats and merry-go-rounds,
their lights would twinkle ‘til close.

The midway of madness would last all our lives.
We’d dress up as jesters and jeer at the rubes,
we’d braid rhinestones of rainbows into our hair,
then paint our future from the brims of full tubes.
Our faces would glitter daring guile to emerge,
as calliopes, bells, and brass bands swelled the fall air
with smells of candy, and popcorn; those midway treats
whose memories still bring the taste of their sweets.

But this year fair days descend to drear and to gloom;
empty and vacant like sandlots left with broken balloons,
nothing but refuse, bits of paper from tarts
broken prizes, promises, among discarded hearts.

We dared both gravity and fate
as we flew carefree above the throng.
Those crazy house mirrors that delayed
winking flirtations, this year have gone.
The promises made on a ferris-wheel ride
have vanished along with our song.
This autumn holds me in a black-eyed stare,
how can I ever go back to the fair.

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon * 11.6.2014 * All Rights Reserved


And then
you let it flow.
It’s easy-like, just think!
You write your gut, what aches down deep,
take off the chains of form, of rhyme, of beat–
write free! Get rid of rules that tell
you what to say in rhyme,
that orders feet.

yourself in form;
let rhyme yield memories.
Compose set-time to bring to life
the musicality of images.
Experience the thrill of sounds
that rush the wind with fire
of metaphors
and verse.

Throw out
ideas of form,
the last resort of those
who have no passion of their own –
those youth who haven’t lived or aged shades
still hanging on to dreams of art.
It’s time to break the rules.
with clout!

So bored
with this drum roll!
These cries of lazy minds
that choose to vomit words, then serve
up prose disguised as ugly poetry,
refuse to learn their craft, refine
their lines,  deride the skilled
with angry, strong

To praise
ideals in form,
hide –bound to metered rhyme
obscures reality. The scars
of life, the wars of hurt, the private angst
that teaches strength, that burns the soul
inflames our minds — become
the howl, the source
of rage.

To smooth
the furrows out,
reduce to essences,
extract the purest feelings with 
the finest words that spring from ironies,
analogies in praise, despair
or passion’s depths. The goal’s
to sing  and plumb
for truth.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 9.24.14 * All Rights Reserved
Written in the © Quarrel Form (or Falling Diamonds) that I invented and am using as a challenge at dVerse Poets Pub for Meeting the Bar

The Symphony of Me


It begins allegro vivace ending in a lonely oboe solo.
The stage is strewn with Marguerites.
The opening movement begins in sets of call-responses in G major.
In sonata form, it advances to a minor key played by strings,
rising to a frantic crescendo then culminating by the repeat of that plaintive oboe.

The second movement continues in lilting 6/8 waltz time,
a melody having a lazy dreaminess shifting in and out of keys in major and minor;
midway through, the tempo changes to a set of quick mood swings.
The latter part takes up themes from the first movement once again changing keys.
Built with clarity and steady rhythms the closing melody shines sublime.

The third section sings in andante cantabile, a fugato of four voices:
a constant swirling and weaving of themes, each voice expressing different things.
Each playing in counterpoint to the others but the whole accelerating to a Viennese.
The figures circle then return to andante, each song highlighted in razor
sharp relief before being united one last time as the woodwinds and brass rejoices.

The last section, a haunting largo piece, hearkens nature’s sounds.
Beginning with bassoons then clarinets to mimic mockingbirds and parakeets;
the melody returns to the initial plaintive tune as each motif is like a treasure.
The rise and falls are like sun and moon, the turns, rotations; the starts and endings–
lullabies dissolve into strains that arc to triple forte, a conclusion of leaps and bounds.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 9.11.2014 * All Rights Reserved
Posted for d’Verse Poets hosted today by Karin Gustafson. The prompt is an extended metaphor.


This is the story of our becoming.

Before the beginning there was the Intellect.
The Intellect was-is-will be complete.
In the beginning there was light that traveled 186,000 miles a second.
It made a sound that traveled a mile in five seconds (so much slower).
In eleven seconds (plank time) the universe went from a thought
to almost the size it is now.
Nothing can move faster than the speed of light and all the energy in the beginning was “nothing” and it did move faster than the speed of light.

These particles banged around for a long time becoming space, time, matter,
moving and even now expanding, ever expanding.
This “becoming” was Violent – initially matter/anti-matter. Constant collisions exploding until the matter we know succeeded (barely).

The nature of matter was to collide in space.
All eruptions, so violent, yielded much destruction, then because of forces re-formed
These forces we call “fields” and most important: gravity, electromagnetic.
These fields allowed energy to convert to matter;
thus, over billions of years, living organisms came into existence.

Millions of years before that, (from Earth’s view) our star was born.
In the process the debris that was scattered formed the planets of our solar system.
We are on the third planet from the sun where conditions have been ideal for
carbon based life to evolve and flourish. We, human beings, are sentient creatures
who have arrived at a point in time and are able to ascertain and inscribe the events
of our beingness on planet Earth – one of four terrestrial planets and the only one that
has an active hydrosphere.

Gravity has a strong effect on all the universe; within our hydrosphere, this protective
bubble keeps out radiation that would burn us up and burn away our water. We are
composed of atoms that are held together by particles charged with both positive and negative charges. On a larger scale we have been able to harness positive and negative forces in many ways to provide us with a world pulled together with magnets and electricity. These have provided us with the structures of our society. Humans are self-aware.

Throughout our existence we have sought to document our time on planet Earth. We constantly seek newer and better ways to do so. We began chiseling on stones and we’ve moved to computerized digital records, photographs, you tube videos, films, music, writing on all viable surfaces even ones that require electricity and special devices to communicate the information. We know these records are fragile but we hope they survive for future sentient matter to learn and understand. We constantly seek meaning to our existence.

There has been much contemplation, writing, argument, and pompous declarations on the meaning of life, the nature of humans, what happens after life ends. I postulate my own thoughts here:

When considering this set of poems, when considering the Major Arcana, I have given thought to the nature of good and evil and now I deduce that my time thinking about it was pointless. No one has agreed on it in the span of life-forms on Earth.

What I observe is this: Humans see terrible, depraved, injurious, killing, and destructive acts that they deem Evil. They find comfort, beauty, innocence, nature, good health, fine art, music, caring, kindness, happiness and they deem that Good. I contend there is nothing of either Good or Evil in the Intellect. The Intellect knew that forces set in motion had inherent within them peace and great violence. Its thought became, changed, manifested independent thought in sentient beings. This is likely an experiment to the Intellect. Even though the 13.6 billion year old experiment seems long (and possibly cruel) to humans, in fact it may be a very short period of time to the Intellect. It must be seen to its conclusion however long it takes. The Intellect is

I contend the Intellect does not know the conclusion of the experiment or it would be pointless. The Intellect is pure. It is both observer and part of all creation. It does not likely ascribe value to its parts, but lets things respond naturally as creation and life continuously begins and ends. Clearly the Intellect is aware of all events and knows that humans have ascribed values to them. Yet, to the Intellect the experiment will be deemed a success based on what It set out to do, and not based on the reactions of the particles in the Universe it created. The “morality” of attractions or repulsions, love or war, isolation or community would be noted but only in the larger measure of what ensued, what made what thing happen, how things collided, changed, evolved, surpassed expectation, endured, or prevailed.

Most likely sentient life or human life has a given period of existence as everything has limits, even stars and galaxies. Eventually there will be an end to the universe just as there was a beginning. It will go cold, empty and be absorbed back into the Intellect who will have gained the information it was looking for. Perhaps this, all of this, is but one experiment among billions that the Intellect is realizing through self-transformation. As limited microcosms of vastness of the enormous universe created in that explosive initial instant, we humans cannot possibly conceive of our worth, role, or importance whatever it may be. It seems we are only partly free and partly programmed by matter, genetics, environment, family, culture, time, and accident of place and movement.

I contend we are all bits of stardust, twinkling in the universe, absorbing as much as our life and curiosity allows. Creating as much as our talents allow. Awaiting absorption into the Intellect where curiosity began and ends.

Unfolding Judgment


From infancy to death we make judgments–
Like over like, dislike – precedents:
good-bad, better-worse, wrong-right decisions,
wanting to please, choosing choice ingredients.

Placing values on life with precision
thinking only of order or scission,
not understanding that through those patterns,
our sorting leads us to firm conclusions.

Framed by family mores and concerns;
by fears real, imagined, sensed or learned,
we form blocks, create deep prejudices
and day by year we act on thoughts discerned.

Order results from informed appraises;
Chaos may rise from strong imbalances.
Each action has affecting repercussions,
We must judge with clear, well-thought perceptions.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 8.28.14 * All Rights Reserved

Posted for d’Verse Poets Pub – posted for Rubaiyats

The Hierophant (Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama)

Dalai Lama © Huffington Post

Dalai Lama © Huffington Post

Each act reveals life’s joy and peace.
His lotus smile can open hearts.
He walks among earth’s souls on streets
hard paved with strife, abuse, and loss.

His destiny displaced by greed;
his acts reveal life’s joy and peace.
He understands despair and grief;
his reassurance grants release.

Through dialogue and expertise
with metaphors, in saffron robes,
his acts reveal life’s joy and peace.
By simple words his truth unfolds:

With love, compassion, caring try
to find life’s commonalities.
By making friends and being kind,
each act reveals life’s joy and peace.

(paraphrase of the Dalai Lama’s words)
© Gay Reiser Cannon * 8.14.14 * All Rights Reserved

Fabulous Firenze Festeggiamento



Across the Ponte Vecchio, behind the Pitti Palace,
we are meeting tonight in the Boboli Garden.
We enter the Grand Theater to the strains of
Vissi d’Arte from Tosca. Lights twinkle on the terraces,
The tables are laid, and the poets are gathered.

We greet each other with glasses of Prosecco.
We’ve arrived from around the world this anniversary.
We are feasting on ghazals and waltzing triolets;
the rose-scented air releases quaterns and nocturnes.
Some set villanelles to sail on the pond,
there are calls and responses in elegant haiku,
and at once we are singing sonnets while the
free verse flows from fountains on the lawn.

The aria changes to Muzetta’s Waltz, as we find new partners to
stroll the topiary mazes. We are celebrating poetry
as the summer moon sends its glade to light our
evening of song and dance munching on meter and rhyme,
picking at salads of rhyming couplets.

Scattering punctuation marks
that once held up our hair, we gambol on the grass
making art out of stars and napkins
crafting soft sonatas from friendship.
Toasting the excellence that is ART here
in these sculptured gardens surrounded
by the Duomo, the Davids, Venus Rising, La Primavera and
we find the shades of Botticelli, Michaelangelo, Giotto
DaVinci, Verocchio and Donatello joining with us when
the score of E Lucevan Le Stella lifts us toward the sky.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 7.17.14 * All Rights Reserved

Countess of Strength

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument in Venice

for Sophia Michelle

Beside her phantom lion she surveys
her vast domain; its lurking dangers stilled.
She summons her abilities and waits.
A Countess whose reserves of strength and will
have earned respect from all whom she has met.
Her carriage and her mien disclose her aim
to care, protect and act, without regret,
against those foes who would attack her claim.
Her family prepared her for great tasks.
They nurtured confidence through each success.
She flourished as she grew; she never lacks
the grace to share her strength through skilled finesse.
A paragon of womanhood, she stands
a citadel of courage, heart and hands.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 7.14.2014 * All Rights Reserved

Ode To My Fellow Poets


your poems are leaking your life
and heart’s blood through cyberspace

oozing binary strings, stops and starts
of emotions, images, and history

before the half-life decay,
I am receiving you across the space/time continuum

your thoughts flow in code, they pump my heart
drip through me with arterial insight–

inspire me with sensual repetitions
your driving life-source pours into mine

your algae spreads, your grass grows,
your flowers dance to transform time

their pistils and stamens glowing
through your words, into my atmosphere

your rant of injustice roars
through jungle bits&bytes to my mind

your desire for fairness justly frames
as the pen of truth triumphs over deceit

I leave a church following the bread-crumbed path
you left in rhyme that leads to the good that connects us

your sensuous data proves though we are mini-
microbes in the universe, we are vast galaxies on the inside

your imagination rises moonlight huge, a monolith as
its power transforms, translates, transfers your essence

across time and space to me providing capsules
of intuitive understanding linking us

your inspiration reorders the centers of my thinking
your delivery births my inventions

your music rings the spheres like bells
that will peel down from age to age

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 07/08/14 * All Rights Reserved
A rewrite of a previous poem. Hopefully this is clearer and better achieved.