Poetry from Allison Grayhurst

Allison Grayhurst

Because it is a Stone



Because it is a stone

the fire hits it, moves around,

changing shape like a wave.


Because grief is not a word

that counts footsteps or encapsulates

the butcher’s madness, just builds like

a deep stagnant pool of a pond – one drop,

one drop, rising.


Because all the vegetables have not been picked through,

and more people hold compassion than they do hate,

the tree can grow, the fountain can flow up and make

a statement of solidarity, a sound

peaceful to those who are near.


Because the robin keeps coming back

to sit on my lawn, stares at me and waits

for my greeting before moving on.


Because hope is red eyes stinging,

but sight unimpaired,

and the darkening shadows darkening

the day-to-day landscape drift –

sometimes far away.


Because there is early morning, peppermint tea,

and love abides in everything living,

I can walk another step, another day,

bury the corpse of a treasured friend,

and place something beautiful

(a stone, a whisper) beside the grave.





Bitter patience, counting moonlight beams

on fledging grass stems.

Endure for the law that presses heavy and cold

against your chest.

Endure because there is no leaving

only traveling on.

Weapons put away, dressing

strictly for good form.

The planets rock back and forth,

bump against each other, but like us, are bonded,

unalterably glued to their personal constellations.

Irrational hope is the shadow I have,

the silent zone of my cortex that defeats reality, yet below

the storm gathers and changes course for no one.

What used to be roots are now tossed away, ripped

on the ridges of sidewalks like bubble gum wrappers.

Storm that has no subliminal meaning, is only storm,

gun shots in the wind. Patience.


Wait for the unwanted guest to go. Wait for your life

to mature finally into what you wish it would be.









Time and the matrix point

of nerves that sound off like

a dinner bell, riveting through

the body, vibrating the bones and all

that stands between.


You speak of shifting plateaus,

but the paint hasn’t even left the brush,

the walls are cracked, veined and under

the watchful eyes of those who walk the halls.


The rules you treasure are intricate masterpieces

of divine tapestry but they are not the mud-sling

upheaval, unpredictable holy heartache,

muscle aches that mark us as we grow old, and touch

each other in the day-to-day of waking up,

sharing the bathroom, the kitchen, animals

who belong with us, depend on us, and sickness.


Here is my watering can. It is sufficient. It too has wisdom.

One eye only that blends and interprets all perceptions.

Here is my tale, my acts of shade, shelter and sun.

The seraphim drive home dreams in vows on fire,

born from nebulas and the hands

of the bricklayer and secretary.


Yours is one way, powerful, yes, but so are the trees,

a toddler’s temper tantrum, the Lord’s Prayer more so –

clasped hands, no separation, helpless, wordless,

at the beginning, saved.





Promised Land



Past the burnt-down barn,

past the tracks of a narrow road

far into wilderness chaos, the clearing is found,

shelves are emptied, floors are once again seen.

The house is open like lips learning

how to talk instead of scream. There is peace

in the soundwaves, animals are


from the verge of death, upright, energy restored.


It was a long walk to the podium to finally have your say,

but the effort has paid off, the love given was not wasted

or disfigured permanently, was not solidified into

a lost-forever horrorshow as we thought it would.


Gold has returned to our pockets, water faucets are running,

laughter is common, coming from under doors.

Love is like it once was when we had our Rooms of Joy –

when we had each other, explorers of unending light.


Around the tree I dance my praise.

Gratitude I never expected,

years of trying to pet the violent horse’s mane,

touch its forehead with a kiss –

now she is still, soft and free.


We made it past the dumpyards and the

foreign countries full of war and pillage.

We stayed the course, singing when we could, letting go

of hope in steady increments of necessity,

unravelling the last thread of our faith

until hell overtook. And in those relentless flames

we still believed and asked for mercy.

Mercy has come.


My home is happy once again. My children have returned,

married and bearing the seeds of deep maturity and there,

there, sprouting back after years of dormancy,

those glorious, sacred child-like smiles.








I have fallen by the wayside,

scrapped divinity for a taste

of the overflow.

Everytime speaking, I was

silenced like a nailed board

sealed above my head.



came in ruthless heat pulses

depleting the oxygen, terrorizing

nesting sparrows.

The lap pool was chemically soiled.

All manner of fungi bloomed,

as dark bonds visibly materialized.


Geometric interlocking

dimensional coveralls – covering all –

left side of my body decaying, chomped at

by an unswerving force, asking for my devotion,

demanding unquestioned servitude

regardless of devotion.


Blindly I fell into the river’s fold,

no strength left in my upper arms

so I drifted to the wayside, into

muddy misquote egg-beds

and the hiding nooks of snakes


left there to breathe in fish-corpse fumes,

play footsie

with the washed ashore water-logged frogs,

dreaming amphibian dreams.









Call it in,

into the palm,

into the spoon,

the upsidedown shell.

Hold its liquid grace

and walk slowly over hunchback hills,

tall weeds and cracked pavement.

Do not spill a drop.


Shield it from the sun

so it will not evaporate.

Shield it from the stars

so it does not recognize its kin

and claim its home back amongst them.

Shield it from the children

who naturally harness such vitality.

And also, from the animals,

they will gather it in their mouths

and feed it to their early-summer offspring,

knowing its worth.


Instead, call it in

because this small measure is only yours,

as long as you call it in and let all other things go,

go to serve your house and others.

As long as you know, possession here is paramount,

protection is integrity, is the way

to keep the sponge saturated, your jaw firm

in prayer.


Call it in,

into the brown jar on your sacred shelf,

anoint it secret, pay the wages

to ensure its safety. Sip from it,

sometimes a little, sometimes more than a little,

like rejoicing, like uncoiling, caught

pure, naked, in a space fully lit with

no off-switch or walls.


Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Five times nominated for “Best of the Net”, 2015/2017/2018, she has over 1200 poems published in over 475 international journals and anthologies. She has 21 published books of poetry, six collections and six chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com