A Hungry Beast

War is a hungry beast.
It has two mouths, one for 
each side of battle. It 
chews up the warriors 
as well as innocents.

War vomits pawns, trigger
persons and victims and 
witnesses, all who are 
damaged, dysfunctional 
maimed misfits, haunted by 
harsh and barbaric scenes,
memories, triggered by
moments unprophesied.
Men, now but half-men with
every sense struck by those
images, disabled,
no longer knowing how
living is livable,
seek out a sense of life
using those substances
offering hope, over-
using the others that 
lead to despair. 
———————–And then,

War shits the flesh of the 
dead on both sides after
digesting, extracting
its deadly sustenance:
souls robbed of any life.

Truly insatiable,
the beast with two mouths and the
beast known as Death make the
beast with two backs, and their
orgasms engender
new grudges, growing more
greedy for battle, the
ugliest spawn spoiling
peace efforts. 
——————–War’s renewed.

Vulgar and ugly words
chosen in reference to 
War’s damnèd beastliness
aren’t as offensive as
nations’ indifference, 
marrying innocents,
dead or alive, to the
perpetrators of an
infinite misery.

Why, then, do people en-
gage in this ugliness? 
What is the purpose of
such pointless inhumane
action as War when it’s
clear nothing’s solved? Is there 
some great Creator’s plan?

If so, it could be that
War, like a fire in a 
forest, a flood, a vol-
cano, can transform its
locus, like a restart 
key, pushed violently,
leaving renewal now
possible once again. 

©Josephine M. Cannella

Toccata and Tease

She’s changed into a many-colored gown —
warm tones of yellow, orange, red—
and we are all attracted even more.
She starts to dance a sarabande for us
and soon begins to drop bits of that bright
and beautiful garb, slowly first, a tease,
then suddenly it seems behind an ex-
cruciating whirlwind of color,
we start to see her, so much we begin
to wince, we want to see her wait,
slow down; we ache for this strip tease to last
a little longer, let us linger in
anticipation, fascination, but
she’s in a hurry, throws a flurry of 
the colors, and we’re sure she will not give
a ritardando, but now there she is, 
so scant’ly clad there’s nearly nothing left, 
refusing to let go of that last bit 
of brown until it’s pushed down 
              by the snow.

©Josephine M. Cannella

Teaching and Learning

The teaching and learning of 
lessons and love songs 
and all the getting-to-know-you time of 
fresh spring infatuation 
blooming and music and tickling my fancy 
have filled and emptied and filled me 
again and repeatedly in a new way 
each time,
and each is better than the last without 
derogating the last  
and how this is happening 
is a 
I don’t want to solve.

©️Josephine M. Cannella


Dandelions filled the dirt of the baseball diamond at the school where I formerly worked.
Our Mother Nature every creature feeds.    
She’s indiscriminate, so all endure.
She never calls the dandelions weeds.

Her lion hearted beings do great deeds.
Their sunny yellow countenance is sure.
See, Mother Nature every creature feeds.

A mother tries to satisfy the needs
her children have, and rarely to inure
the wild flowers to notions they are weeds.

I’d pick them, “flowers,” for my Mom, and she’d
ensconce them in a vase, like lavender.
My mother, naturally, my heart would feed.

Naive children and wildflowers sow seeds,
Not knowing odds of insult or failure.
Those dandelions do not know of weeds.

Some people round up and destroy the breeds
which they perceive simply to be impure.
But Mother Nature every creature feeds,    
and dandelions never know they’re weeds.

©️Josephine Cannella

New Chapter: Deluge Epithalamion

I turned a page; the chapter now was new,  
perhaps the final chapter Love will write.
I slept alone after three nights with you,
the first time since we first felt Love’s first sight.
I wake and think of you before I think
a thing about the day ahead I face.
With echoes of your song, still wet the ink,
I hope my heart is in its safe homeplace.
You love me in a deluge of desire, 
washing me clean of fault through Love’s fine arts.
A waning flood of feelings can inspire
fresh growth to set down roots in both our hearts.
The life for which we had a lifetime wait 
my Love, we will forever celebrate.

©️Josephine M. Cannella

April 7, 2019


A Lesson in Creative Process

A placeholder, like “blah, blah, blah,”

or like “a note to follow so,”

may do for now, until the right 

thing comes along, if ever it 

decides to. Then, sometimes the place-

holder must do for quite some time,

or forever. The latter sit-

uation, then, is terminal 

imperfection, as humans are,

like marriages one settles for

and muddles through. But if one is

lucky enough, the right one comes

along before forever does.

©️Josephine M. Cannella 7.31.2019


When I was in college, I never really paid a whole lot of attention to the color yellow–it was always a background color, suitable for kitchen walls and grandma’s quilts, but after he picked me up in his bright yellow VW, I was suddenly noticing yellow everywhere in the corners of my eyes. It was late winter when he first collected me in that speedy little Beetle, and we went out for pizza and a movie, kissing with electricity in his front seat before he dropped me off. The next day it rained, so yellow raincoats turned my head all day: nope, not his car. Still not his car. Then, as spring began to open itself up to the world–wait, was that him?–no, it was yellow crocuses, dandelions, daffodils. The smell of forsythia wafting across the driveway and the happy tulips and yellow bearded irises caught my attention; it was not his car parking there.

This is not to say that he didn’t continue to pick me up in his yellow VW; he did, and we had many happy dates. But suddenly the color yellow became imbued with meaning as it crossed my sight in any form.



I push my kayak to the edge of the creek that leads to the river, and it slips in, happy to be where it feels most useful. Balancing carefully, feeling my weight shifting, I pick up my paddle and sit. My paddle drops into the dark water, and I push and pull with opposite hands. Above me, I hear the sound of the geese, and I look up. As I make my way to the mouth of the creek, I see a blue heron wading in the shallows ahead to my right. He is majestic, statuesque, and still as I draw nearer. Suddenly he lifts himself out of the water and extends his wings to an awesome span, probably four feet across. They thunder as he flies further up river and I can see him alight on a limb of a tree ahead. I know I will encounter him again. This isn’t the first time we have danced this dance.

My own photo of the Little Creek in Saratoga Springs, NY