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.


There’s no one as old as we are, sir, or as young.
We ride horses in the forest and their manes stretch away
from us becoming like the trunks of trees.
My husband died and left me feeling not as old
as my grandchild’s birth.
I grab the mane and ride toward youth.

You had no markers in that wasteland to measure out your age.
I think you’re young, as young as when we mounted, sir,
but when I glimpse you now your face folds in against the bone
like knees upon the Cypress trees and still we ride
to a place we know where flowers once would open to the sun
and need no shade.

Then your pace was quicker, sir,
and your face like a flower paled by moon.
We seek beginnings in autumn and ride wild and unbridled now
upon the burnished leaves. 

We reach for life and find its span,
aging as the trees we’ve known.


Women Weaving


Intricacies within each human cell
gamete and zygote each a woven
double helix of information all bearing
one fundamental pair of genes.

Historical, identifiable, inexorable
and indisputable belonging to
one woman, the first woman,
the Eve genes.

                            We are a matriarchy.
We the human family. We come from
a woman and each time through
a woman…a woman who weaves.

And what does she weave this
universal mother of ours? She weaves
what she has, who she is, where she is,
what she eats, breathes, lives, sees.

She weaves her dreams, her prayers,
and her aspirations. She weaves love
of partners, of parents, her children,
of flowers and bowers, of rocks and trees.

She weaves colors of rainbows, and
of peace, of harvest, of fair winds and gentle days,
foam on the waves with cloudy horizons
ribbon-striped with sun’s setting rays.

She weaves sorrows, dying, illness and war.
She weaves loss in her dirges, despair for
disease. She weaves fierceness and courage
with fearless resolve, a tender pity and giving
to heal the ones who are sick, to find understanding,
keep faith and to fix.

These are the gifts that a mother gives to her family,
these abilities woven into her genes. Through talent
in textiles, in paintings, in baskets, in pitchers, in gardens
that grow vegetables and flowers.

Through order and pattern, she overlays
chaos, through planning and schedules,
she manages festivals and funerals
with persistence, meals in all seasons each day.

These are the family ties brought to us
in woven boughs from many generations
of our mothers, the women who weave.

For Noah who seeks to understand the mysteries of each generation.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 4.20.2014

The Love Affair

rose on piano

It started, perhaps, when I was nine.
I can’t exactly say if at that time it was mine; a budding romance.

There were a few meetings when I was younger
I approached hesitantly to look a little longer; not ready for romance.

By the time I was twelve I knew.
Nobody, nothing else would do; my true love, this defined romance.

I was forced to leave my lover twice.
My feet carried me forward, a lost look in my eyes; grieving for my romance.

After college, we were able to find our space.
My hands fluttered, every night my heart raced; enthralled in this romance.

For these many years, I have spent hours, engaged most of my days
Touching my lover’s soul;  that love fortifies me in myriad ways,
In melodies gay, — my piano’s been my lifetime romance.

© Gay Reiser Cannon – 6.14.2019   All Rights Reserved
This is a Rubiyat which requires a signatory name in the last line.


onewomandanceralonePhoto Eicho dancing in Chile – William Johnston -NYTimes

What is a tango for one,
sad music of a lone guitar?
What use are red high heels
when they have no mates?
The cobbled streets are lonely,
The shops are shuttered,
The cathedral bells are dull.
The bandoneon bends hearts
with more longing and more desire.
I turn slowly, on my own,
now that my partners
are gone.

©Gay Reiser Cannon * 4.24.2017

At at the End


two notes with long fermatas
sitting on opposing staffs
they were like that
in a gray world of weary waiting

each day sunlight refracted through clouds
of time that held familiarity and terror
they passed each other in the markets
breathing the same heavy air

she dropped her glove; he found it
and kept it in his coat pocket
imagining its owner, as she pondered
its loss along with the others

both sensed the perilous times
both heard the plinking keys
plucking tunes from their hearts
giving them courage before

they were detained and taken away

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 4.23.2017

Souvenirs – a Décima

We spent those days sometimes confused —
the acts that touched, the words that soothed,
the days that stuck, the nights that moved.
Throughout the years, the paint came loose.
but lessons learned remain in use.
The joys, the gains still bring us smiles;
the lost, the cuts, recall the trials.
My albums sing a life’s refrain,
love filled mementos bright or plain.
A trail of life, its light diffused.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 4.2.16 * All Rights Reserved

The décima is a Spanish form of 10 lines – rhymed ABBAACCDDC – in principle of 8 syllables, though the rather relaxed method of counting syllables in Spanish verse means that lines can actually be anything from 6 to 10 syllables. I’ve just kept to the standard English Iambic tetrameter.)


Beside the door the reaper waits.
The seasons change, the winds still whip.
Some days slide by and others strip

themselves to shreds, then lie like slates
upon the floor. Our hearts are sore,
we seek the peace that culminates

in sleep that lies beyond our fingertips;
still by the door the reaper waits.

An Octain invented by Luke Prater – posted for Olivia’s d’Verse post on Octains

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 03-24-16 * All Rights Reserved

Vignettes Inspired by Pina Bausch

Viktor-Sadlers-Wells-1543 pina bausch

A scene from Viktor by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch @ Sadler’s Wells


Agony cavorts nightly at the bar
while songs divulge lost dreams
and broken expectations.
Notes clatter to the floor
as waiters wobble.Tables and
stools collapse. Patrons continue
to enter careful not to step on
limbs and organs lying there.


Outside garlands festoon the roadway.
A girl in gray chiffon pirouettes along the avenue.
With her eyes shut, she sings a liebeslied in toe shoes.
People move beside her forming a border to
her dance steps.


Random meets chaos forming art in the café.
lines overlay patterns –  abstractions of shapes
dissolving to nothing then reforming as something
else. Their shadows rise and fall disappearing
after they slither down the walls, moving to the
drum beat, they squat beneath occupied tables.


Blond man stands on an orange crate,
___________  orders:
“Dance happy as trains
loud as a dog that’s barking  JAZZ at linden trees.”

His blue eyes pierce the grayness
shining like moonlight on a saxophone.
An old couple rumbas on a black lacquer floor.
Their hips transpose rhythms to signals.
Their movement transforms time
into the value of pi.

Circles flatten
Spheres become cubes
the scene changes:

Sun drenched
the ballerina rotates in arabesque
(blood red)
on a platform……………..
a clock flies by
a train stops||
movement ……… dance feels like glass
                                 design …………………….light that flickers and moves
                                     structure………………………..dissolves into liquid

Another dancing dress ripples and flows down the tracks.


En pointe she lifts factories
She pulls down dictators
Her hair reaches up to the gate that reads:
Arbeit macht frei”
The smokestacks are quiet
Their shapes darken our history


Their trails crossed
Their shoes multiplied
They drank French and Russian
from ceramic cups
fired at 1300 degrees centigrade.

Meeting in skyscrapers
and on underground trains
noise wrapped them from view
yet branches of trees were
hung with silence.
Ancient fish awoke to
swim again.


Men began to fan their tails of a million eyes.
Girls hid all but their eyes behind large lace fans.
In a high school cafeteria,  a heavy black curtain
hides academic sins.


Workmen crowd at shop windows
Staring at undressed mannequins
Secretly they coveted their sisters’ dolls
and dream of undressing them.

The dolls cannot sing, recite poetry,
skip rope, or turn cart-wheels.
They can never run away,
refuse them or call them names.
No fierce warriors, bringers of light
(or darkness)
They only open and close
their eyes and nod their heads.


I wake
covered with strings
Behind us roars a waterfall
A river below us leads to some sea
What puppet-master dances me there?


Red shoes stomp
Palms mop the floor
Paso dobles wrinkle with heat


Dressed in black
she dances through her pain
her stomach’s riddled with holes
swastikas plague her steps in vain.

The wall behind’s alive with the art
of Diego Rivera- guitars strumming
flamenco. Her dress outlines all

November men balance on beams.
The light shifts
they live their dance before they fall.


Vignettes Inspired by Pina Bausch

Pina Bausch dirt

Pina Bausch by Ballet.org.uk


The hotel melts onto the Champs-Elysee;
Rome’s ashes float eternally on the Tiber.
A tea-dance stops in Berlin.
An Englishwoman fires at Hitler.

Mannequins in pink rehearse with
the corps de ballet – float through nine lives
Jeté en air
float on clouds
land in New York.

A princess ran away —
she left luxury in a forest.
Her life was a Czardas
played on a violin

by a peasant who
once sank into a swamp,
but rose to marry the princess who
danced with their son as they
migrated to strange lands.

Their trails crossed time and melodies;
their shoes multiplied. They learned
from passing sheep and random cows.

Potatoes raised from the earth, apples
fell from the trees. They danced through
color and blankness..pioneers–
leaving behind angels and broken promises
going forward to find the horizon.

In dreams I am weightless
gravity becomes visible
I change, grow wings, fly.
This architecture seems emotionless,
also weightless; freedom flows
construction seems fluid as
water, invisible as wind.

Words dancing – language moves.
Partners become one
through elemental feelings.
The NOW elongates,
the past feels closer,
the future turns on the wheel.
Lightning strikes, thunder cracks!
Outer roars meet inner screams –
sleep’s a path to peace.

Summer settles like wet mush
steam rises as the moon wanes
the soul sheds its skin.

Ghost thoughts fill the void.
Sentience appears behind the veil
The movement changes yet moves on.

There souls turn weightless
spinning through summer leaves
one may find its mate in the light of a new moon.

Sword leaves saw edges
cut sunshine to splinters
falling shards splinter time

Talent filled colors
flow from the sun’s descent
art’s fierce paradigm
shadows deepen history’s secrets
a sense of deja-vu
dark matter permeates thoughts
twilight’s like sailing through stars
where ghosts exchange melodies
all harmonics rearranged

Deception deep in DNA
That life has no limits
Stretches beyond horizons
Like perpetual gyroscopes in motion
our minds explore new ideas,
an endless phantasmagoria of thoughts

Birthday dance of fireworks
freedom bursts in colored sparks
born at dawn’s light in cold and mud
Strings sing while feet dance
Behind the veil a girl moves
                  the urge to begin again is strong

Caught by a rose’s thorn
shredded by the western wind
wrapped onto a wagon wheel
love holds on against nature’s force

Thread your ring
onto the crescent moon
as the quadrille begins.
Join Venus, Sirius, and Jupiter
to music of the spheres as galaxies arise

©Gay Reiser Cannon * 3/9/16 – All Rights Reserved
If you haven’t read and care to read Part I it is here:

Last Winter

Winter icicles stretch roof to hedge.
Squirrels burrow beneath snow-covered leaves
for ungathered acorns. Texas snow is fleeting –
they’re never prepared. They chase each other
shaking off the dusty snow. Up trees, over roofs
their blood is up and their appetites excited.
Spring comes early..and so do little ones.
I watch them racing past late blooming roses
and a single flowering quince.

*   *   *

Our aging shrub blooms.
The dying season cuts short
the hope for bouquets.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved

My first haibun.  Hope it qualifies. I have written haiku for years..but still fall short of the mark.