How easy to feel the weight
of choice, mutually
with the burden of circumstance.
Childhood ripens then wilts,
and in your unguarded hands, only
shades of poverty-stricken
summers remain; enormous & unavoidable.
What is real is not always the same as
what is eternal, yet those days,
when overabundant with love,
reappear, and strangely, make a difference.
You hold a torch, moving urgently through aqueducts
towards icy light. When you reach
the blue loneliness of abstraction, secretly
you are sure
the fullness of truth has rushed away
from you; and that this knowledge
too, is unusable.
You flourish beside the lightheaded angels. You carve
in stone, in vain
their god-affirming songs. You stand
outside, alarmed. You disappear.
Time hangs in your thoughts like an imaginary lover.
You look in the mirror and see
a great void, a perfect smile . . . and see
there is still so much left
Because I know you and the glow
of your many lives’ rhythms
behind your big heart concealed, revealed
beautiful in its purity . . . because you are part
of my inner tribe – a specimen
of beauty and undefined rich sentiment –
I will never judge your secret vulnerability
or soil your openness with sarcasm,
but instead I will promise you comfort,
a beach of sunlight and solitude –
a mother’s love where God takes part.
In spite of the cold kennel
cruelty out there, you will get through –
as one strong in joy, as one wedded
to charm and the virtue of forgiveness, sleeping
If I Get There
If I was done with this canvas
and the pattern I formed upon it
could be tucked inside the space between
the filing cabinet and bookshelf . . .
If I could read the dialect of normal behavior
and place myself at the foot of its throne . . .
If the next step was the greatest step
that would extract me from this quagmire
and strip away the congealed substance around my bones . . .
then my head would be held in your hands,
cradled there like a new baby, helpless but secure –
my whole body supported by your one arm.
Love would be like food, and you would be
my devoted glory.
The oceans spill into a cup.
I drink from that cup and approach
the gathering of ages and
salty burial grounds.
For me, I remember a time before friendship –
I held anguish, frustration,
anticipating the arrival of my tribe.
I waited for one who knew the same meaning I did
of sacred sexuality, death and grace.
The landscape was huge, but my people are now complete.
Somehow we have gathered. Over the years,
we’ve erected pillars
on neighbouring streets to see if others would recognize
our colours. Some came near, joined, but after a while,
they left and situated themselves
on the opposite side of the theatre.
Patterns increase. Wounds are given priority over love.
Fear becomes a discipline
and loyalty to another merges with the sickness of self-denial.
The oceans spill. But there are certain things
I will not drink. I was born for a different music.
Love will win out. God is greater than the world
and all the people
There will be arrival, the fruit of permanence.
Yearnings will be eased
and my tribe will see, finally rejoice in
its expanding form.
Faces of hope
I watch the future
as I watch the motions
of your lungs. I see
so much change and so astounding a discovery.
I see two asleep, plenty full
of love, bearing themselves up
against the world. I see the frames
of two who have no boundaries,
who have extraordinary powers
in ordinary reality, who have presence
and beauty with the added blessing
of fitting in.
I see the advances of light on your skins.
I see the unexpectancy of time
in the simplicity of your smiles.
Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three of her poems have been nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, and she has over 1050 poems published in more than 425 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published twelve other books of poetry and seven collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012. In 2014 her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series. In 2015, her book No Raft – No Ocean was published by Scars Publications. More recently, her book Make the Wind was published in 2016 by Scars Publications. As well, her book Trial and Witness – selected poems, was published in 2016 by Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group). She is a vegan. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com
Some of the places her work has appeared in include Parabola (Alone & Together print issue summer 2012); Elephant Journal; Literary Orphans; Blue Fifth Review; The American Aesthetic; Agave Magazine; JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, Drunk Monkeys; South Florida Arts Journal; Gris-Gris; The Muse – An International Journal of Poetry, Storm Cellar, morphrog (sister publication of Frogmore Papers); New Binary Press Anthology; The Brooklyn Voice; Straylight Literary Magazine (print); Chicago Record Magazine, The Milo Review; Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; The Antigonish Review; Dalhousie Review; The New Quarterly; Wascana Review; Poetry Nottingham International; The Cape Rock; Ayris; Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry; The Toronto Quarterly; Fogged Clarity, Boston Poetry Magazine; Decanto; White Wall Review.