Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gone the Songs of Orpheus

 Photo of Midori Harima's Paper Carousel

It's the eve of equinox when
nature steps out, dances a tarantella
dressed in iridescent disguise.
Fearful, you seize my hand.
Terror rises inside me;
madness screams, “Go the other way.
fate commands, “Come!”
reason counsels, “Behave.”

We hear another song
deep in the nearby forest
a merry-go-round spins
its neon emptiness.
Fading ponies promise
solace for our fear and pain.
We each board white ones for the ride
As the tempo quickens
We dread an early end.

“Leave and try another.”
whispers Temptation.
You turn toward the leaf-like flame
And change. Then I,
With my quick-stepping heart,
Wrap my glamour
In a radiance of counterfeit currency
And my tongue is lost.

In  silence
We lift our eyes.
Our prayers for rejuvenation
Reparation and restoration
Wing toward heaven.
Here, we await our fate.

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved


  1. Oh Gay, this is so beautiful...the promises of season and love and life and the fates...oh the beauty of living and I would do it all again and again...lovely, lovely write...bkm

  2. i love the imagery around the carousel...ponies promised dreams....and i echo the hope in heaven of restoration...stirring write gay...

  3. Lovely, Gay. The use of the carousel imagery is inspired. Some lines I especially like: "Wrap my glamour /In a radiance of counterfeit currency / And my tongue is lost".

  4. great imagery.. really liked the ending! amazing Gay :)

  5. Splendid imagery, Gay. Good use of the carousel and the figures upon it - you give us a picture of life, with guest appearances from madness, fate, and reason...the latter of which I hope makes more an appearance than its predecessors! Pony promises, sweet salvation in this childish image...hope lurks here, and ends your poem beautifully.

  6. I know where Orpheus is hiding, but I am sworn to secrecy. He's not gone, just forgotten. Well, until now... Fate and Reason appeared like a Greek Chorus to me as I read.

    "We each choose a partner for the ride
    As the tempo hastens toward
    An early end"
    You got me on that part. Very touching.

  7. Gee, guys, thanks for the kind remarks. I really pulled this out of hat at the last moment to post today. Felt a bit iffy about it if you want the truth. Thanks again.

  8. Wow, just wow. My favorite lines were "Madness screams, “Go the other way.
    Fate commands, “Come!” Reason counsels, “Behave.”" I really enjoyed this poem. Your natural talent radiates from it. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Lots o' passions bursting at those tightly wrought scenes/seams. Great stuff.

  10. I like the way each stanza is like a turn of the carousel, and changes the action just a bit, one turn at a time, til all the promise of spring becomes a question. No need to feel iffy--this is full of interesting thoughts and language and works very well indeed. Especially great for a spur of the moment write.

  11. Thanks. I wanted that paradox of another year passing in a finite life juxtaposed with a new life lifting out of winter dancing in front of you. Each year is like another trip on a wheel in fact and in figure and as we spin our fate lies somewhere in the unknown. Just didn't know if I accomplished it. Glad to know you liked it.

  12. Definitely the best thing I've read from you. Excellent, in so many ways! I'm bookmarking to re read. Thanks for this beauty.

  13. That's not a pony. That's Cerberus.

  14. Stunning images, it's like being in a fun-fair gone wrong. Great first stanza.

  15. "We hear another song
    Somewhere in the distance
    A merry-go-round spins"

    You have a way of having me walk into a room, sit comfortably, listen and partake in such a way that I am really there in the midst of your poem. Whether it is hearing the music of the carousel or watching as you wrap your glamour
    in a radiance of counterfeit currency and your tongue is lost,(love this)leaving me to watch the poem unfold in silence it is amazing and your imagery is wonderful.

  16. this was a very well written poem...their was a smoothness and soothing in the tone of the read I could imagine a hushed room listening to soft tones lilting this piece..well done...pete

  17. What a whirlwind of imagery, spinning round and round like a carousel! Nice one, Gay!

  18. Really beautiful! Offers deep appreciation of commitment.

  19. our prayers for rejuvenation... love this line, friend. i hope you'll join me for imperfect prose on thursdays sometime. thanks for stopping by my place! e.

  20. ...whispers Temptation.
    You turn toward the leaf-like flame
    And change...

    So many truths revealed in stunning images here. The galloping carousel of fantasies strikes me for the first time through your poem as the dark side of songs, Orpheus'! Of course, only in masks and death and ashes would 'rejuvination' be possible. Thanks for waking me up with each crafted line!

  21. neon emptiness...your words are beautiful Gay...

  22. O Gay, I always read your poems with held breath -- the raptures just pour and pour. Are the songs of Orpheus the true love songs we lost long ago? (Perhaps with Eurydice’s fading smile?) So too have we lost the Arthurian reel? And what's left but a million off-key voices imitating Lady Gaga at karaoke bars and on "American Idol"? Wannabes, worst, at love ... But this is more personal, isn’t it? The dance or round is the speaker’s life-spiral going both up and down in the poem, prayers for a personal fief in bliss rising toward heaven and returning in dashed dreams. The carousel is perfect as Fortune's Wheel. Such an interplay of high and low in the heart. Sigh. One question: Shouldn’t there be a period at the end of the penultimate line? As it reads now, heaven is Here, which I guess is Orphic enough.

  23. Good poem, Gay. I loved merry-go-rounds as a child, especially the horses that moved up and down. The carousel music, the movement and motio, watching the faces of other children - not bad to riding around in circles!

  24. Woww.. such a excellent analogy for the cyclical nature of life.. that carousel, spinning.. while we wait for the next event to transpire..
    Very beautifully stated, Gay..
    Your words here really inspire me.. They have a lovely dream-like quality to.. fascinating!

  25. Simply fantastic Gay, as everything I've read of yours and I LOVE the paper carousel image that you wrap this around! Wonderful work!! ~April :)

  26. @Fireblossom - the dark the fading horses MIGHT have had three heads. :)

    @tolbert - your poems and comments make me think and rethink. What a probing and incisive way of looking at things you have. Come back often!

    @pete - couldn't be more different from your work. I've said one million times I don't know how you do what you do.

    @Bubba (and everyone else who mentioned images)..just in case I haven't said it before: One of my first influences was Amy Lowell's Patterns. I have a fascination with patterns and images. I read that she'd been labeled an IMAGIST. It was the first time but not the last (oh my no, not in this company) that I said "I WANT TO DO THAT". I keep saying it every time I read work on your blogs...I want to do that and that and that and that. Not say that, but how that, understand that, use that device, clear that level of metaphor of understanding. I learn things every time I read a poem. Regardless of quality I learn more about me having read them.

    @SMGrant - Any words from you are well received. I admire your insight very much!

    @emily - I love coming by your place and will as often as I can. I have a new poem boiling in my brain today but it's long...yes it's very long..quite symphonic in fact.

    @Alegria - your comments are very welcome to me. High praise and much insight from you. You read things there I hadn't even thought except perhaps subliminally.

    @Steve Thompson - Yes...I liked those two words together. Thank you.

    @Brendan - you hold YOUR breath...what about when I read YOU?..I always feel like you're taking me places I didn't even know I could go and is it always exhilarating? YES! (And yes there ought to be a period there..I'm shamefully careless about my punctuation)

    @Glynn - I love where your poems take me too. Hardly ever around in circles..usually to a dramatic point.

    @Kavita - Yes, that was all in the idea of the poem. Thank you for liking the words.
    @Dustus got the part where I wanted a sort of Greek chorus somewhere in the telling.

    @April - Thank you. Yes. The carousel which is in a New York museum is actually life sized and is made of paper. The floor seems to somewhat reflect it in the photo. Apparently it has a ghost like effect when viewing it. I liked that because I wanted that "ghostly" capture in the poem.

    @Barbara - your words mean so much to me. I think you are a very fine poet with such refined sensibilities.

    @Maureen - your opinion of my work always matters. I don't weigh mine against yours. I just admire you and your work so much.

    @Anthony - loved your work so much this week. I wondered what you'd think of this. So very distant from your voice. I'm pleased you like it.

    @Neva - you never disappoint me. You are always so encouraging.

    @Steve Isaac - (my twitter has so many Steve's and I don't think I've known but two in 3 dimensions) Yes, you found that passion that lies beneath the words. The references had some tumultuous allusions in my personal life.

    @Brian who gives me such rich work week after week and who is so universally loved that after I've read all the comments there, I feel as though there is nothing more I can possibly say.
    I wish you the capture of all the gold rings and the realization to all the wishes you make.

    @Corbie - I love it when I read something and just say WOW - it rises up inside of me after I've read something I really like. So I count those WOWs I get carefully and put them away in my treasure chest.

    @Chris - I love how you always explicate and get nuggets not only from my work but all the work you comment on. I prize your succinct way of slicing into a work and culling the best from it. Kudos and thanks.

    @Joy - my friend, my mentor, the voice I rely on and the person I turn to when it all goes haywire. Without your comments I feel left at home alone. Thank you so much for what you give me.

  27. Special thanks to Heather who so graciously tweeted and retweeted support of this poem. Isn't it like a miracle or something when someone else find a special connection to something you wrote? Here's a WOW for you!!!

  28. oh wow gay - this was beautiful - loved the carousel, the passion, the tension - beautiful

  29. magnifique! Like your work a lot... hope you'll come and visit soon my dear

    Warmest Salad

  30. From picture to poem, my heart is left serene. Though insightful and featuring much depth, there is a soothing calm to this piece that was most appreciated today. Whenever I visit I am always left to think..who the heck do I think I am to compare to the likes of that! :) Beautiful!

  31. "Madness screams, “Go the other way.
    Fate commands, “Come!”
    Reason counsels, “Behave.”

    the multiple voices in our heads telling us which way to go... but life and love are on the carousel and ~
    "Here, we await our fate."

    stunning, Gay! ♥ dani