Dark Wings


Starless, endless night.
Dreams of thickets filled with crows;
morning shines black jewels.

Paisley etched headaches
scarred by tree dreamed slashes;
shadow shards define day.

New percussive beats,
metal clanks between heartbeats;
ragged breaths paint fears.

Dark stillness pervades.
A portentous quiet crawls.
Time runs down the trees.

Horrors stick to buildings;
the crossroads speak travesties.
The earth remembers.

Injustice rustles
sheets of anonymity,
shreds to expose them.

As gloom-filled sorrows
weep, blithe memories of light
stream through forest boughs.

Day breaks like eggshells.
Blue jays shatter silent leaves;
clouds re-ink rainbows.

Crows now fly away,
I begin to breathe once more.
Fog lifts; we emerge.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 7.30.2015. All Rights Reserved


Photo of my cat from British Museum.

Photo of my Egyptian cat from British Museum.

“Time’s measured in a thin line on a cat’s back.”
“O sacred cat! Your mouth is the mouth of the god Atum” *
Nine lives, “tick //TocK//tick” clicks the art of

space and form moving first largo then allegro vivace.
The andante sonata of life becomes the sound of
the way Rome looks, stays as eternal as love.

Purple-ribboned skies extend the emperor’s roads.
Then shadows, dark as catacombs,
frighten the bravest of crows and chanticleers.

“Let no Chaldean clairvoyant compute your
time of existence” nor guess your chosen one.
Cats and men have died for love–

but for living we are born,
not to worship fresh fears
or build shrines to cool starlight.

Feline grace scrapes against walls of slavery,
the terrain tilts.  As the poles waver at twilight,
rain settles and sleep silences.

Drip-drops even-out the hours,
turn minutes into eons,
count the grains of star dust.

Pain arches, bell-curved like the cat’s back,
intensifies and diminishes, a life wave.
Corinthian columns march,

dreams creep onstage, move
to the center mark and wait
while the spotlight stops.

There “make-believe” enters stage right
waits on an iron balcony
by a wall of red bricks.

The masquerade proceeds.
Where birds perch,
day mews on the night.

1. Egyptian hymn from the 4th Century BC*
2. Horace *

From Claudia’s Poem: 2 lines: ” time’s measured in a thin line on a cat’s back” and
“tick //TocK//tick” to respond to the challenge prompt to use a line from Claudia or Brian’s challenge poems. Posted for d’Verse Poets Pub MTB challenge 2/26/15.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved * 2/25/2015


She’s tall and elegant with fairest face
her history dates back before these times.
She changes through all ages yet remains
mellifluous, mysterious, and fine.

She’s herald for the royals who played at war,
a gift to salve an aching mother’s heart,
a tribute from the poor when laid in prayer
a pledge of truth and troth when lovers part.

I give to you this sign of family,
a symbol of your beauty in repose.
Its lines are drawn on all you sanctify–
on vases, jewelry, furnishings and clothes.

Great love has left its imprint to disclose
and mark you as a Woman of the Rose.

Y’all may have to read this with my Texas accent. Royals and prayer should be read as a one syllable word, and jewelry as two to be “impure” iambic pentameter.  Well, that’s how I pronounce them, ok? This was written for my granddaughter Valerie’s 17th birthday. She speaks Florida, but she should understand this pretty well.

It’s being posted for Björn’s MTB article on Voltas. A Volta typically happens on line 9 of a sonnet and means a turn from the original statement of the poem.  It’s where the poem “heads home”. Here I change from the history of the rose to giving it symbolically to my granddaughter.

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved * 02.16.15

Odin’s Revelation – The Hanged Man



His Quest to master Ecstasy
and gain Valhalla’s apogee
drove Odin’s cryptic sacrifice
by hanging on the famed world tree.

He spent nine days near his demise
so he could glean the runes, grow wise.
The words revealed life’s paradox —
a man reborn can conquer vice.

Without an act, thought opens locks;
by changing view, new fortune knocks.
While being still, a path appears
and tosses loss upon the rocks.

His mind had shed his former fears
by seeing life in sets of tiers
to know all life is joined, adheres
to other life as earth to spheres.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 02.11.15. All Rights Reserved



in the belief
that music shapes the world
I celebrate your day in song
November’s melody of red and gold
beats first in whispers of the wheat
then crackling leaves mark time
their rhythm builds
the cardinals
mix chirps of joy with crows,
their chorus wakes the dawning day
tree trunks then shuffle, creak in counterpoint
as streaming sunbeams dance between
their shadowed golden leaves;
the latest air
composed by rippling brooks
as rocks and water harmonize
I see your gold flecked eyes express delight
I take your hand, we walk in step
through amber afternoons
we two still bound

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon * 12.1.2014 * All Rights Reserved
example of Original Form – Falling Diamonds – Quarrel
(c) Gay Reiser Cannon

Fair Days


When the sunlight’s soft yellow
coloring leaves from within;
soft skies streaked with blue ribbons
pierce tall pines scrubbed 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


Argument for Free Verse                                       Argument for Form

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
Both sides 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 form begins and ends with 1 foot iambic. The subsequent lines increase by one foot iamb to whatever desired length of  iambic feet probably not exceeding eight and then decrease by one to a one foot iamb for the end. The only rhymes must be in beginning and end lines.

The Symphony of Me


It opens allegretto lively arpeggios as an oboe solo.
The stage is strewn with Marguerites.
This 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 each instrument rejoices.

The last section, full blown allegro vivace, hearkens nature’s sounds.
Beginning with flutes and clarinets to mimic mockingbirds and parakeets;
the melody raises the initial plaintive tune as each motif becomes a treasure.
The rise and falls are like sun and moon, the turns, rotations; the starts and endings–
lullabies ascend into strains that arc to triple forte, a conclusion that knows no 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. The form is a Karousel which was invented by David James. See my article here:


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.