The HyperTexts

Maureen Cannon

Maureen Cannon was an American poet who died at her home in Wyckoff, N.J. in January 2007. She had published over one thousand poems, most of which were written "in under a minute." She is survived by two daughters and six grandchildren. Her poems appeared in Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, Light Quarterly and Reader’s Digest, and she was a regular contributor to the Metropolitan Diary column of The New York Times. According to Margalit Fox of The New York Times, "Poems, unbidden, visited themselves on Ms. Cannon at all hours, and she lay in wait for them. She never went to bed without a pad on the nightstand, nor climbed into the bathtub without the tools of her trade. Fortunately, she never used a computer."

She was born Maureen Patricia O’Connor in the Bronx on November 4, 1922. Her father was an editor and theater critic at The New York Journal-American. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Barnard College in 1943. In 1950 she married James P. Cannon, a chemical engineer. Although she wrote poetry as a young mother in New Jersey, she was not published until she was in her forties, when a friend submitted two of her poems to Baby Talk magazine. The editors sent her a check for $50. That, according to her, "was an epiphany." Unfortunately, the next year and a half "brought only rejection slips." When McCall’s finally accepted a poem, she "danced with the mailman on her front stoop."

Our sincere thanks to Light Quarterly editor John Mella, for providing us with the following poems by Maureen Cannon.

The Mourning After

Her menu was too bland.
And, what was worse, he
(Our host), misguided, banned
All controversy!

Published in Light 22

A Word to the Wives

"For better, worse, but not for lunch,"
She babbles blithely. Here's the punch:
Denied the mid-day meal, breadwinners
May go elsewhere for their dinners.

Published in Light 23

Politician in the Pew

His very public piety
Achieved such notoriety
That, just as he'd suspected,
In time he was elected.

Accomplishing his purpose thus,
He grew less sanctimonious
Until, a private citizen
Once more, he breathed his last 'amen'
And—never went to church again.

Published in Light 30

Weather Or Not

What’s lion-lamb crazy? What’s clownish?
What’s dancing on—oops!—fallen arches?
What’s weather-wise—help!—up and downish?
And inside-out too? Heavens, March is!

Published in Light 44-45

The Essential Eve

The best things in life may be free.
Admitting I’m on the defensive,
I think you’ll be apt to agree
(My research, my dears, is extensive)
The second-best things are expensive!

Published in Light 44-45


I search and strive for inner peace,
But label me a doubter.
The mood eludes, my struggles cease,
I can’t find either inner peace,
            Or outer.

Published in Light 44-45


Is Anybody Home?

     I used to grow old
     When they put me on ‘hold’
As I waited, in silence, a martyr.
     But the fashion today
     Is to make music play,
And to soothe with a gentle sonata,
     Or a silvery flute,
     Or the song of a lute
Guaranteed to prevent me from groaning
     As I glance at the clock.
     Listen, don’t give me Bach,
Give me simply the person I’m PHONING!

Published in Light 44-45

Who Says?

Carpe diem, seize the day?
Absolutely, hip, hooray!
     Rising to attack
Every moment, joyful, glad,
Seize I did with all I had
Till it seized me back,
Bashed me, thrashed me, throttled hard and
     Sharp, hey.
Guess who—come next diem—may not

Published in Light 44-45

Home Movies

     The audience, captured,
     Is rarely enraptured
Beyond the first reel. It grows restless
     And, if the reel’s endless,
     A host can feel friendless,
And find himself suddenly guest-less!

Published in Light 44-45

To an Orthodontist Presenting His Bill

"Now brace yourself," you murmur.
Doctor, sad
It is to say, but how I wish
I had!

Published in Light 44-45

Dear Cliché Expert

     I get it all together,
     I hang in there. About
The time it's all together, though,
I always wonder whether (oh!)
     It ought to all hang out?

Published in Light 44-45


Sweet Talk

My conversations, me to me,
Are free from any lack.
Rejoicing in tranquillity,
We never, ever disagree—
And no one answers back!

Published in Light 44-45


"We didn’t phone or write for fear you’d fuss."
Behold ’em, bag and baggage, finding us
Aghast and unprepared and—consternation!—
Unable to vacate while they vacation!

Published in Light 44-45

Dear Bride

A gentle warning, not a threat,
But should you overlook, forget,
Or fail to keep a list, my pet,
     Of who gave which large gift, luv,
It’s possible that Uncle Ford
To whom you wrote you both "adored"
His handsome Danish cutting-board,
     May be a little miffed, luv,
Especially since it was he,
Not Kate, who gave the set of tea-
Cups, twelve in all, while Jane, ignored,
Was she who gave the cutting-board!

Published in Light 44-45

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