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

i, working cat


              as suspicious
                   as curious
             paint myself fence
           disguise myself leaves
         shade myself branches
            in stealth
              real wealth
                  the long tails,
                  the scissor-tails,
                   the bushy tails
           arrogance that flaunts
              those nut-eaters
          tree bug-eaters
     i, meat eater will feast
         fine, feed mine, divine
   repast, caught from behind
    or more fun, when done
            on the wing
                that's the thing

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 2012

Posted for dVersePoets Poetics hosted by Mark Kerstetter – “through the eyes of the other” 2/4/2012


Tango ©

Fire hate and love death
hate fire and love desire
tango holds me in its ache
and life the blood on my tongue

the melt of your moustache
into your face where those hard
drops of you land
turning a grimace
or smiling
through the dread of stare

our steps shake mortality
to broken stones while pillars
all around us burn

our own shadows
pull us into them syncopating
strings into arms
and feet
shaking prisoner passions
into buckles and clasps
lying on   the floor
the filigree of love overlays
the face of destiny and time

twisting keys with grains
of black film in sets of thirty nine
crashing steps as my rose
grows wings,

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 2012 * All Rights Reserved

Astor Piazzola – Tango Oblivion


A Winter’s Cottage – Thomas Kincaid

Earth’s raked its brown and jagged leaves
empty branches barbed and arms yearning

snow begins to fall, ermines turning white
the lake freezes to a moon silver mirror

the wren returns to feathery down
in the eaves of the twilight house

night covers the lilac landscape
windows serve as yellow beacons

a husband returns to his ocher train station
then slogs home to the warmth of her kitchen

and the heated fragrance of love

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 11/11/11 * All Rights Reserved

To Glory

Broken brown leaves
litter the path from my door.

As I breathe the air today
I see myself leaving,

taking nothing with me.
I have said goodbye to

the saved greeting cards,
to the treasured lines of poetry

scratched on scraps.
The fragments of lover’s gifts,

shards of childhood memories
I’ve thrust into the hands of others

for them to keep or destroy.
In my house I leave behind memories

of children’s voices, Christmas carols,
parties,  sadness, sickness,

visitors, ghosts of pets who shared
days in the now silent rooms.

What I’ve gathered from moon and sun
I’ll take with me on my journey through

cosmic dust. I face light and darkness
ahead with the self I’ve learned to love.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * Nov.2011 * All Rights Reserved

“The only journey is the journey within.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

“And you? When will you begin your long  journey into yourself?”

Posted for OLN @dVersePoets on 11/8/2011

dVersePoets on 11/8/2011


This starfish left a handprint in
the sand. I see your

tan hands that summer we went
to the Cape and you filled

our nights with tales of scallops
and fresh mussels. Noisy clams

played rhythm on their castanets
and lobsters danced flamenco on the

foam before they found their way to our
hotel bedroom made from jetsam

of the sea. There we
rocked the cradle through

the long dark shipnight
deep in the depths of its hold

where the constant pounding
waves were heard within our ark.

There I became the shell
with you curled inside me.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 2011 * All Rights Reserved

Posted today for OpenLinkNight @dVersePoets. If you haven’t been before click the link and join the fun. Link your own and read others. You’ll be glad you did!

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

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