Samhain – The Tale of Morrigan (Origin of All Hallows Eve)

The hides have been hid and tanned,
the bones have been stacked in a mass,
the night of Samhain has come
when the future is seen through dark glass.

All the fires have been quenched;
time for one last lusty pursuit.
His fire has moved to his loins;
my womb will bear that fruit.

Tonight I see with my “other” eye
and I know that my son will be crowned.
Tonight before dead men can move
my husband must walk around

set burning bonfires of the bones.
His reward that he’ll rule my land.
I’m daughter of the goddess Danu;
my sons will have upper-hand,

will rise to cast off oppressors
in this dreamworld of the damned.
My daughter will straddle the world
when my time of seeing ends.

My mother’s gifts are in a chest
that was built to sail cold seas
A cauldron, A harp, and a spear
For me to use however I please.

I have the skill and the craft
that I once learned from her.
There’s one gift I can bestow
if he needs it, I will know.

The spirits fly through the trees
black birds that bend and bow
I can change to one of these
flying through fires to waters flow.

I am woman of the crow
in the lands of Conmaicne Mara.
From the heavens of faeries and gods
come the tribes of Tuatha de Danaan

Tonight the dead will walk–
the living will hear their sorrow.
Tonight the fires will burn
And I will be human tomorrow.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 2011

NB – the bones are not of men but stacked up after the slaughter of livestock.  The event was held after the first frost so the meat would last all winter.  The hides were tanned and used for making leather goods.  The crops had been harvested and on the night of samhain the family fires would be put out and dead wood would be set fire in big bonfires to burn all the debris and the bones.

Morrigan (goddess of darkness, shapeshifter)  mated with Dagda (god of light) whom I refer to here. It is unclear from myths just who was married to whom as different myths have different partners. It is consistent that Dagda (sometimes Dhagda) was the father of Bridget.


Lihannon, County Clare, Ireland

A response to a challenge presented  regarding Seamus Heaney’s LIMBO

He pushed through the curtain
before I left the confessional,
thrust himself inside me
and said it was just like loving Jesus.

And I felt the drip in my knickers
as I pulled my wool around my aching breasts
knowing they’d not believe
if I told them, never Father Mike.

Now I’m here on the edge
With his wee bairn, all pale and suckly
Like the milk he’d drain from me
Without e’er a bit o’ me in him.

All Father Mike and you, Jesus,
and if that’s being loved by You
I’ll suffer hell and give
the babe to the deep.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved

Oh Lord…a Mercedes Benz

posted forPoetics today 10/8/11 by Brian Miller at dVersepoets – theme: Bumper Sticker

Staying with the 5/7/5 in the spirit of bumper messages!  This was actually a license plate!

Hot blonde, dark glasses
Thirtyish in red mercedes
On bumper: AMENDS

Her husband cheated?
Or “My friends all have porsches,
“I must make amends”!

For some reason this stuck with me.  Hope you enjoy — as you see I’m still stuck in 5/7/5!

Haiku and Senryu

stringing syllables
that hold meanings of puzzles –
hand carved netsuke


writer’s chain of words
churned like butter made from cream–
poetry rises


changing maple leaf–
why does the shape of your hands
haunt my memories?


spring leaves hold rainstorm;
low thunder provides soundtrack
for orange-colored sky


bouquet hedges hide
fountains splashing lilac trees;
secret liaisons


algae slick jetty,
full moon slips to silver waves
heron dives for it


South wind off the sea
mist swirls high in soft spirals;
we sail on cloud dreams.


Sap drips sweet down tree;
its leaves blaze brighter than fire.
Ladybug takes flight.


Curling in roses,
secrets rest in deep fragrance,
will open to love.


Snail on a black branch
that ends at the brightest star;
long highway to goal.


In green hay thrashed field,
two poppies lift their faces;
fiery pas de deux!

Posted for Senryu and Haiku article 10/6/2011 on d’VersePoets FormForAll. I’ll let you decide what is senryu and what is haiku.  To my mind the first three are senryu and the fifth (bouquet) if you consider “liaisons” political rather than a lovers’ tryst.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 2011* All Rights Reserved

Posted for Senryu and Haiku article 10/6/2011 on d’VersePoets FormForAll. I’ll let you decide what is senryu and what is haiku.  To my mind the first three are senryu and the fifth (bouquet) if you consider “liaisons” political rather than a lovers’ tryst.

 © Gay Reiser Cannon * 2011* All Rights Reserved

Yeah, this never happened

It’s the Golden Age
and I’m in New York
pretending to be Holly Golightly
not Audry Hepburn, the real Holly Golightly
BigTex herself, all pinkness and smiles,
not meeting the gangsta though who’d keep me draped in pearls
just cruising down Fifth Ave. with all those Seven Sister sisters
who have a ticket to ride in the publishing game, and me just pounding out
telegrams for the military on telex machines waiting until I can meet
somebody, I mean Somebody, who’ll take notice of my talent when I
run uptown to Lincoln Center or stand outside practice rooms at the Julliard.

Sometimes sneaking into the theaters at intermission, flirting up the ushers,
getting seats to watch the greats! I mean the real greats on those stages –
Long Days Journey Into Night, Streetcar Named Desire, The Long Hot Summer,
Picnic– and the great musicals, My Fair Lady, West Side Story,
(where Leonard Bernstein is overawed by Stephen Sondheim and gazes in adoration
at Jerry Robbins). Bopping down to the Village, listening to Baez and Dylan–
harmonizing with acoustics until after midnight when I find someone to
hit the Blue Note with, and dig Coltrane and Miles. Then to the drug store
where all the guys and gals from the Actors Studio scream lines from those
Williams and O’Neill plays, pages and secretaries there too, pretending not
to know if those guys are acting or really dangerous fools who’ll mug them
on the way down to the subway. And I;m just smilin’, and tappin’ my foot.
Not wanting to go back to my shared one room place on the Lower East Side.
Living in the Honeymooner’s apartment but weirder. A lot of pot being smoked
on the sidewalk but I remember Devil Weed and stick to liquor.

Slick Madison Avenue types slummin’ down the Village some nights telling us
they’d gone to Harvard, Yale, Brown…that’s the clue to those Mad liars..for
heaven’s sake, do they think I haven’t seen Where The Boys Are in high school,
that I’ll fall for some dumb line like Yvette Mimeux did. I know I’m no Dolores
Hart either. But then, she succumbed to a convent. Good grief, she could live
a Princess Grace life and she chooses a nunnery. Not for me, boy howdy, I’ll find ART
here in the city and do it my own way, like any Texas girl
livin’ loud, singin’ long…finding my niche…or letting it find me
and I’m sure they will all find me:
Warhol, Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Sondheim, Previn, Sinatra…around
any corner, any day,
my chance,
my break’ll come.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 2011 * All Rights Reserved