Sunday, January 9, 2011


    He came to us
    Out of the mountains
    Of evergreens and vines
    Laurel, rhododendron,
    And hardwood trees.

    He was brown and sang the oldest songs,
    Ancient airs re-tuned
    To praise the sounds of hidden streams
    Clicking insects
    Whispering leaves.

    Walking across these prairies
    He came seeming faceless in the distance
    Straining to see him
    A wavering figure
    Moving across these treeless plains.

    How we laughed at the stranger!
    The men called him names.
    A man from the mountains
    A hillbilly
   They called this man "Country".

    He told us jokes and anecdotes
    Yet stood alone
    When the young boys came
    To ask him how to...

    He'd take the time
    To show them all he knew.
    He found me one day

    We talked near the edge of a pond.
    I asked him if he found beauty
    In our wilderness.

    He pointed toward the sunset
    Saying, "Behold beauty."
    And turning me back to him
    Looked in my face
    Saying he'd not known one before like me.

    After that I saw him often
    And he told me many things
    How to plow, plant, and grow
    Standing in the snow when he touched me,
    The moonlight shone all 'round.

    By the light he started the fire,
    And on that winter night
    He gave me the seeds.

    The next day when I went to find him,
    The men told me
    He had gone away.

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon
All Rights Reserved


  1. oh, this is absolutely beautiful!

    we are all strangers and yet, when you share beauty with each other, it's not important that we know each other. beauty brings all people together.

    thank you

  2. ...I can see the flicker of the film on the screen... This really could be a movie.

  3. Gay - I LOVE IT!!!!! is this made up or a real story? you can tell me in London when we meet - wooh-hoo!!!

  4. Really amazing, Gay. & I agree with Hope! beauty does brings all people together.

  5. You set a great scene here. Excellent.

  6. what beautiful story are going to laugh but this made me think of mr edwards on little house on the prarie...sounds like a great man to meet...though some double meaning could be read in those last few stanzas...

  7. Oh my gosh, I never saw that coming. Maybe should have. You brought this whole thing to life so well. I really enjoyed this.

  8. i love juxtaposition...that is real life. you captured it beautifully.

  9. I read this the other day, Gay but wanted to think about it a bit. It's got an American Gothic feel for me.To me the Stranger is a bit sinister at the same time that he seems genuine and giving and full of important secret knowledge... I may be just crazy though. This may be a poem about continuity, and trust, and loss, because I can see that, too. Either way, I've spent some time with it and enjoyed every minute.

  10. The inspiration for the stranger comes from American Indian folklore which when I investigated found was a universal folk story. It is the story of the stranger who brings fire. The stories in nearly all tribal legends says he arrives unexpectedly, imparts learning as well as giving the knowledge of how to make fire and as unexpectedly disappears.

    It happens that my first boyfriend was a mountain man and while he did not give me the gift of fire, he was the first one to give me a sense of unconditional love. I dedicated this to him and because he was a sincere and very nature based person wanted the poem to reflect that.

    I'm glad it works well without explication but I offer it here as an accompaniment to the piece. Thank you all for coming by and reading.

  11. This is a wonderful story, Gay, beautifully written. I agree with Margaret. I can see this as a movie. It works on so many levels.

  12. Sounds like something out of a good old Western! Stirs some memories of "Sun Going Down" by Jack Todd for some reason...

    Nevertheless, a lovely story; interesting to think on and to see the sharing sharing of beauty and wonder...and then interesting to read your explanation just a couple comments up here as well. Great insights and writing all around, Gay!

  13. How poignant <3
    I'm glad that you visited me som I can discover your words. Loved the way he sang, walked from the mountains and the way he taught you all the thing. The way you kept meeting. Profound words that I'm glad you shred it with us.

    Thanks you.
    S. Sharp

  14. I gotta find this guy. Humble, grace filled soul. We need more of these types...great journey through the poem.

  15. Last part reminds me of the end of The Lone Ranger when people are left scratching their heads and say "Who was that masked man." But in this case, who is this poetic gypsy wanderer who seems surreal, knowledgeable, and poetic? Beautiful, romantic imagery throughout the poem!

  16. heck i thought it was me.... seriously though this was a beautiful story...very well written Gay...cheers pete

  17. Loved all these comments (Pete (secretly) it is you! (smile!) Thank you everyone for coming by and reading!

  18. Powerful writing again! A man's man, a woman's lover, at one with nature, unconcerned about what others may think...

    I wasn't sure if he was Kris Kristofferson or Jesus...either way, he is one to be looked up to as an example of what humanity could be. Is it any shock he went away?

    Thanks for an absolutely beautiful journey.

  19. Great, atmospheric story within a mighty fine poem. Thank you.

  20. Oh wowww... he was sooo good... and seemed to be so much more than just an stereotype.. why did he have to go away ?!?!
    This was very gripping, Gay.. kept me hooked till the end! I thought it was God, then I thought it was a mysterious lover.. and then.. I just kept thinking...
    Beautifully narrated, my friend..

  21. Superb, made me think of all the special ONES who have gone but left a lasting impression & so touched my life. Thank You

  22. Thank you .. he was not the devil with blue eyes or blue jeans. Pretty sure he wasn't Kris Kristofferson though Rita Coolidge might have once thought so. He was the bringer of fire, which might have also been the bringer of truth, he was in its most simplest form the bringer of poetry..a god perhaps to the tribes..but in my mind a magnanimous man just passing through as OSH said as there are many (so like the poets I've met here) who pass through and touch our lives. Again thanks to all of you for sharing your talents with me and for taking the time to read and give me the gift of your time and your spirits. Gay

  23. Dear Gay

    What a beautiful and emotive story.. I liked the way you brought in the end... perfect..
    Thanks for sharing..

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    Twitter @VerseEveryDay

  24. Very beautiful story...I love the fact that he brought that symbol of seed and the new life it brings....very nice Gay...bkm

  25. Gay, you are quite the story teller. I loved this poem. I too am left wondering if this is a true story or not. A stranger that people scoffed. When the narrator saw the beauty in him and showed interest in his fount of knowledge he showed them what he knew. Thank you for sharing.

  26. Gay - beautiful words and a great story!

  27. Great storytelling and flow - excellent.