Heritage

vintage_italian_antique_gold_metal_tole_rose_w_long_stem
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

Free|Form

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.
Ascend!

Immerse
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.
Authenticate
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
discord.

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 Symphony of Me

Chicago_Symphony_Orchestra_2005

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.

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

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

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis

For Tim

In my vision you emerge from a fire,
a forest incandescent around you.
The flames purify your truth to essence
revealing there your regeneration.

A forest incandescent around you
transforms to shaded havens for new thought,
revealing your new regeneration
with its shining cleansed spiritual youth.

You grant a shaded haven of new thought
that buoys the ones you need to love and teach.
They’re swayed by your cleansed spiritual youth
but you remain aloof, beyond their reach.

They wait, the ones you need to love and teach,
for you to inform and give them license.
They yearn to reunite with you now they’ve
seen flames purify your truth to essence.

The time has come to bestow your license,
allow truth to imbue their spirits too.
That which revealed your regeneration
now radiates through them in its brilliance.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 6.19.2014* All Rights Reserved

Of Age and Spring

Thinning Live Oak Trees in my front yard. Photo by me taken 3.29.14

Thready, bare limbs, a few scant leaves hold fast.
Live Oaks, near stripped of leaves, their neighbors fill.
I pray that drought, neglect won’t spur demise.
Majestic guards who welcome guests with shade
throughout each year, repelling frost and sun.
To lose them now when they are needed most
would change my home, and wound my caring self.

We age like that– a halting step, dark spots
a brush that fills with hair, split nails.
We want the sun but fear a fall, a chill.
Then Spring comes in with fragrant flowered breath
And we arise to wave our arms and dance.
In rainbow shirts we frolic in the park
We braid our hair with daisies and we sing!

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 3.29.2014

A Skating Mother’s Journey to the Olympics

deathspiraldallasnations2003

Only a mother knows that dedication
Rising before four, often new rinks, new places;
things you need for the drive and the practice.
In those days, not one pair of skates but
two – start with figures (patch) skating turns with precision.

Your skater alert at last, changes boots, jackets, other things;
on to free style and then repeat, pay for ice,
drive back hoping that rush traffic doesn’t cut
you off; you glance over, see him as he traces
on his bookcover –brackets, threes on olympic rings.

Later on partners, new coaches – rush, delay
waiting on costumes, new blades, shaking but-
terflies before he skates then races
over to find out the results, meeting your eyes
with his looks of satisfaction or fierce dismay.

Decisions, money, time, travel, loss and gain
I know the competion rungs, the tarnish and the graces.
I’ve felt the courage, the joy, the hurt and anger disguised
with smiles, fists in gloves inside pockets – clenched shut.
Finally they open, ready to give him control over that joy and pain.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 2014 * All Rights Reserved
This poem is a Karousel (so appropriate for a sport that goes round and round and round).
The form was invented by David James and his article can be found here.
I am posting for d’Versepoets today on OpenLinkNight

The Dirt People

A Dust Bowl farmer digs out a fence post to keep it from being buried under drifting sand in Cimarron County, Okla., in 1936. © Arthur Rothstein/ Library of Congress from NPR

A Dust Bowl farmer digs out a fence post to keep it from being buried under drifting sand in Cimarron County, Okla., in 1936.
© Arthur Rothstein/ Library of Congress from NPR

They were people of the dirt
life hung on a loosened nail,
barbed-wire lay like promises broken.
all their lives — all they knew.
Their kids, offshoots
of the mandrake root,
full of it – dirt, dirt, more dirt.

They farmed it such a long time.
What came from it, not even green words,
mosquitoes, heat, and lung disease.
A bit of water carried in pails,
poured by sunburned hands
to coax the sands.

Dirt
drifted by wind,
spilled on tables,
filled window sills,
stuffed the furniture.
— dirt
In the sugar bowls and salt shakers;
on the playing cards;
on the paper dolls, gritty when cutting out;
caked on marbles in the circle;
creasing the cigar treasure box
— dirt
where the children played hollow eyed
living rusted lives in crusted disappointment.

Later the peanuts pushed out of the cracks;
melons grew, then split by heat
they ate their hearts.
Wind roared, sand pelted, snakes rattled
and all the spirit did was blow.

They were the people of the dirt.
They moved from one place to another.
The dirtiest was the dug-out–
living there, not clean
but at last cool; they eked out a living
from a little rain or making repairs in town.
Yet ever they moved on — until typhoid
caught them up and burials weighed them down.

Only dreaming of clean
cut from pages of a magazine:
running water, indoor plumbing
china, silver, a crystalline vision,
instead of dirt
between those pages, they’d find
a place to stop,
a place to learn,
and time to read.

Posted for my article on Beat Poetry @dVersePoets
The after-effects of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl as well as having come through WWII greatly influenced and affected the Beat Poets. Many blues songs which spoke about pain, loneliness, poverty, and loss filled their poems. I chose to present this period of my maternal family. This isn’t quite a protest poem but in a way it is. This was a government caused catastrophe. The poor farmers had been paid to plant the same crops without rotating year after year with government subsidies. Ignorance and greed again caused this horror of the 1930s.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 10/13/113

The Wait

© Marta Ramoneda for The New York Times

We must endure delays from birth
those obstacles face all on earth
a time for us to contemplate–
Have mercy on us while we wait!

When festivals descend each year
we’re challenged to provide good cheer.
Imbued with hope, anticipate–
Have mercy on us while we wait

Boredom can feed anxiety,
impatience may upset our needs;
stagnation breeds unrest and hate–
Have mercy on us while we wait!

Give peace to those who need restraint
Have mercy on us while we wait!