The poetry of Allison Grayhurst

“Her poems read like the journal entries of a mystic – perhaps that what they are. They are abstract and vivid, like a dreamy manifestation of soul. This is the best way, in prose, one can describe the music which is … the poetry of Allison Grayhurst.” – Blaise Wigglesworth, “Oh! Magazine: Ryerson’s Arts and Culture Voice”.

Read at your peril. You will never look at this world in quite the same way again. Your eye will instinctively search the sky for eagles and scan the dark earth for the slightest movement of smallest ant, your heart will reach for tall mountains, bathe in the most intimate of passions and in the grain and grit of our earth. Such is Allison Grayhurst. Such is her poetry,” Eric M. Vogt, poet and author.

“Grayhurst is a great Canadian poet. All of Allison Grayhurst’s poetry is original, sometimes startling, and more often than not, powerful. Anyone who loves modern poetry that does not follow the common path will find Grayhurst complex, insightful, and as good a poet as anyone writing in the world today. Grayhurst’s poetry volumes are highly, highly recommended,” Tom Davis, poet, novelist and educator.

“Grayhurst’s poetry is a translucent, ethereal dream in which words push through the fog, always searching, struggling, and reaching for the powerful soul at its heart. Her work is vibrant and shockingly original,” Beach Holme Publishers.

“Allison Grayhurst poetry has a tribal and timeless feeling, reminiscent of the Biblical commentary in Ecclesiastes,” Cristina Deptula, editor of Synchronized Chaos.

“What a treasure Allison Grayhurst is. Her gift? To unfold for us life at this intensity of feeling and revelation. Who knew truth and beauty could be so intertwined and so passionate?,” Taylor Jane Green, BA, RIHR, CH, Registered Holistic Talk Therapist and author.

“Allison Grayhurst’s poetry appears visceral, not for the faint of heart, and moves forward with a dynamism, with a frenetic pulse. If you seek the truth, the physical blood and bones, then, by all means, open the world into which we were all born,” Anne Burke, poet, regional representative for Alberta on the League of Canadian Poets’ Council, and chair of the Feminist Caucus.

“When I read Allison Grayhurst’s poetry, I am compelled by the intensity and strength of her spirituality. Her personal experience of God drives her poetry. With honesty and vulnerability, she fleshes out the profound mystery of knowing at once both the beauty and terror of God’s love, both freedom and obedience, deep joy and sorrow, both being deeply rooted in but also apart from the world, and lastly, both life and death. Her poems undulate through these paradoxes with much feeling and often leave me breathless, shaken. Allison Grayhurst’s poems are both beautiful and difficult to behold,” Anna Mark, poet and teacher.

“Grayhurst’s rapturous outpouring of imagery makes her poems easily enjoyable … Like a sear the poet seeks to fathom sensual and spiritual experience through the images of a dream.” Canadian Literature.


Allison Grayhurst is a full member of the League of Canadian Poets. Four of her poems were nominated for “Best of the Net” 2015/2018, and one eight-part story-poem was nominated For “Best of the Net” in 2017. She has more than 1200 poems published in over 475 international literary magazines, journals and anthologies in Canada, United States, England, India, Ireland, China, Scotland, Wales, Austria, Romania, New Zealand, Zambia, Bangladesh, Colombia and Australia

In 2018, her book Sight at Zero, was listed #34 on CBC’s “Your Ultimate Canadian Poetry List”.                                                              

Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published fifteen other books of poetry and five collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing.

Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream (1991), and four chapbooks, (Before the Dawn, Joshua’s Shoulder, Perfect Love, and Jumana), published by The Plowman, all in 1989.

Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press 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).

Walkways cover 2Some of places her work has appeared in include Parabola (Alone & Together print issue summer 2012); SUFI Journal (Featured Poet in Issue #95, Sacred Space); Elephant Journal; Literary Orphans; Blue Fifth Review; The American Aesthetic; Drunk Monkeys, Agave Magazine; JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, South Florida Arts Journal; Gris-Gris; New Binary Press Anthology; The Brooklyn Voice; Straylight Literary Magazine; The Milo Review; Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; The Antigonish Review; Dalhousie Review; Chicago Record Magazine; The New Quarterly; Wascana Review; Poetry Nottingham International; The Cape Rock; Ayris; Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry; Existere; The Toronto Quarterly; Fogged Clarity, Boston Poetry Magazine; Decanto; White Wall Review.  


img432Over 1200 of Allison Grayhurst’s published poems are available to read on this website. All of these poems are accompanied by Allison Grayhurst’s audio reading of the poem. Links to each poem by title:

Almost all of Allison Grayhurst’s books are available for a free reading on Issuu and/or a PDF file link to download from the page on the main menu:


Allison Grayhurst’s completed published work prior to 2018 is available to read in six volumes titled The Poetry of Allison Grayhurst – completed works from 1988 to 2017, all published in 2017 by Edge Unlimited Publishing. Selected poems from this body of work are published in Sight at Zero (selected poems 1988 to 2017), Edge Unlimited Publishing, 2017. 


Allison Grayhurst also sculpts, working with clay and casting into concrete. Her sculpting body of work can be found in the published book The Sculptures of Allison Grayhurst, Edge Unlimited Publishing, 2017.













Collaborating with Allison Grayhurst on the lyrics, Vancouver-based singer/songwriter/musician Diane Barbarash transformed eight of Allison Grayhurst’s poems into songs, creating a full album entitled River – Songs from the poetry of Allison Grayhurst, released October 2017.



CBC -Ultimate Canadian Poetry List #34

Amazon Author

UK Amazon Author Page:

The League of Canadian Poets:


Goodreads Author:



Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group) Author Page:



New Era by Allison Grayhurst

Creative Talents Unleashed

From the start I believed

in never bending, but now I am a weather-vane,

guided by singing.

Now, in movement I grow like a wild weed –

a glutton of untouched terrain.

I have put on the iron mask,

burned my skin for the battles

of another. That shore is sinking

and my globe has altered its axle.

I put away my grown-up philosophy

to live by impulse and the pity of God.

The task is done, the ice is swallowed.

It is time to love the gargoyles and create

a new form of beauty.

© Allison Grayhurst

BookCoverImage Allison Grayhurst

Excerpt from the book “Trial And Witness – Selected Poems”

$11.95 Plus Shipping ~ Available at CTU Publishing Group and

Allison Grayhurst About the Author

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…

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A Journey in Four Parts



A Journey in Four Parts



Part One – Acceptance of Realty





(facing the unmovable block)



This is the branch that holds you



Precision and discipline

are the two things needed to win.

Win what? A war. A deadline. Victory

in a failing dream.


Blend the monotone flame,

build it up to fruition so it consumes

the skin, and then the liver and kidneys within.

Stay the course in spite of the flame,

in spite of feeling divinely betrayed.


Summer is not for you. Nor is fainting,

or fading, devoured by futility.

Bite the salt cube, be a door not a wheel.

Take what is shattered, glue a mosaic garden,

a place the rain can settle, and after it settles, shine.


Borrow nothing. Depend on only yourself

to be your own ambassador, mentor, fan.

Stand without dripping. Keep your hands

clean of self-pity, unstained and soft

as when you were first born.


It is a train ride, stopping at many

dilapidated stations.

A long time ago you had medals, owned a crown.

It never brought you peace.


If you are fragrant,

if you are foul-

it doesn’t matter.

Humble yourself to the journey,

let the corpses bloat themselves, feeding

on the putrid elements of greed and anger.


Do what you do best: March,

serve and sometimes sing, finding comfort

in a foot-soldier’s rudimentary song.






(held tighter by the tentacles of hell)



Snip the Seams



Snip the cord

Snip the line


Denial is suffering

under the veil of false


The wound is the womb,

the low-road and the high shore-line.


Snip all means of flight,

all laws and inhibitions.


Shapes made are never final,

words too, alter meaning.

Look and snip

the draining pipe, the solid memory.

The way you were sure was open

but never was, snip

and be done with it.


Why the painter who cannot paint, hot days

in global-warming winter,

the bird bath with a hole?

Scissor-queen, wire-cutter machine, bow

to the bitter land before you, make peace

with the locking tide. Snip


the pictures from the walls,

the broken limb from the rest of the body.

Try it on. Wear it before mirror, into a crowd.

Pass over the keys.


Take tomorrow, hold tomorrow now

and snip.




Part Two – Interlude


(maybe Yes)



Smelling the Salted Air



        When I fell

I was half-metal, half-mush.

The blood spilled would have killed

another, but I was blessed with

resilience and the head-down-ploughing-through.

        When I was down there on the hard oblivion dirt,

I wished my anguish would have devoured me,

that somehow I would stop with dutiful tasks

and allow my mind to reach insanity’s pinnacle.

        But I kept going, moving my limbs – first fingers,

then forearm, searching for scraps, nourishment

in the garbage heap I fell on.

        No one came to carry me home

to their bed of fine linen and clean water. No miracle

lifted me from that impassable barrier, but I moved through,

I don’t even know how, alone and broken,

my arteries split, my mind lost in the bardo-realm.


        Finally, strong-kneed, healing, a small

cavity within is opening, filling with hope.

I know myself in this fiery affirming pulse,

know that freedom from the fall

and freedom from the shackles

that encumbered me to stumble and fall

is my only chance for grain.

        If I climb back up that ridge, allow myself

to be chained – the next time down

will be my last. 

        Now that I am up, walking and free, I see

behind me soot and murder – impersonal and brutal

just because.

       Ahead, I can make it, make myself a ship

to weather any wave.

       Ahead, I can keep myself open, love deeply.

I can be tender, build furniture in the sunlight

or just run with the running water,

up or down stream.




Part Three – Commitment to the Impossible





(ripping off the rooftop, chipping at the floor)








Travel with the donkey

to the place where your

thirst is quenched.

Look into the eyes of a farm cow

and tell her stories of glory.

Leave all your wounds in an unmarked grave.


Those wounds only put weight on your back,

around your belly.

They are not symbols of your grandeur,

but only fed your self-pity, tying you to

a moaning sorrow.


Walk out the door and wake.

Ring the meditation-bowl bell.

Don’t resist your freedom or sabotage

the foreclosure of the haunted warehouse

where you spent many years alone trying to slay

the undecipherable.


It was never a church nor is it even worthy

of a keepsake box of collected hardships like the hardship

when your children moved through serious illness

and you moved with them, holding out to, onto

the angels surrounding.


This has no life-pulse. Its pain

never brought you closer to God.

It is waste, decay – don’t drag any part of it with you

as you move forward into a complete tomorrow.


It formed its own geography within, its own army

of ruthless intent, pitted against your joy.

Dislodge that piece of land from the rest of yourself

like a useless limb to sever.


The sun is opening. It has opened.

Accept your good health and wake.

Your left hand is now a flower.






(it is a decision, mutually yours and God’s)



I Take In




I take in the fire,

the light of dreams,

take it into my core

to swish around

and build movement, a whirlpool

energy expanding, patching

broken roots on the way, manipulating

days of service to grow a tree

that will sustain long after the forest floor sinks

into the sea.


I take reality and strip it of its elected principals,

reform its origins to reveal miracles,

downpours of fixed definitions dissolving into

a running stream.


I take the pen and make corrections,

here and here until all truths co-related to the truth

within me, until I have no employment but to follow

the dictates of the divine, and know this power

as I know my own gait, my lover’s touch,

the smiles of my children.


I take the chaos of circumstance and make a string

to guide my way through, hold and follow –

one string, one line, golden, formed,

unbreakable as a covenant bond.




Part Four – The Light is Found



(everything belongs to God)



Green Patches on Open Ground



Bow down and accept

the particle blue,

the strength of the beating sun.


In the flame you were born,

keep it alive, as pure as

squeezed lemon juice, as precious

as water in the holy grail.


Wherever you go, the miracle

is in the listening, in steamrolling

resentments, bitterness and the weight of time.


If you must go back, then trust

what binds you to life is stronger and will prevail.

Surrender to the secret. In a second, tumbledown,

join a choir and let your song be layered.


Honey drips from the windowsill.

Collect it in jars and feast. God is great

and only what is connected to God

can know greatness.

Re-embrace the purity of truth and be delivered.

Renew your sacred vows, let the vowels join the consonants

and form words. Cloud. Peach. Clean.

Be filled with your personal seraphim’s blood.

Get behind the line and follow.


This house is an eagle stretching her wings

over her young. It is holy and it is alive.

Your blessings are not meagre,

but monumental as a babe’s first breath,

as yes&no combined.


You have been retrieved from the dumpster,

many are not –

but are left in a crusting-over broken shell, infested

with insects and slowly-devouring disease.


Yourself, once a fallen workhorse,

now unbridled, set free – wild and roaming, racing

neck-to-neck with kin, flooded with pure-power instinct,

at one with the wind, the hills, places to graze.




© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “Outlaw Poetry” December 2018


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:











The words came

and killed the hostages,

killed the ghosts stuck

in crevices of crow’s feet eyes

and in the long book of regrets and what ifs.


The words came and said:

the greatest indication

of spiritual immaturity

is the lack of gratitude.


The words were singular, pounded their plurality

into one soft mass, or like pieces of glass

heated, liquified, blending smoothly

the dangerous edges.


The words came as two hawks hovering

in surreal stillness and then came again

in the small measles-scar of someone I knew

as a child, seen again as an adult, flooding me

with a memory and an affirmation


that the spaces between

this time and that time

do not exist, not as a ladder, not as fossil bones

but those spaces somehow existing, contain

the intrinsic value of eternity.





The words came

and were excellent company – said:


hear the melody while joining with each note,

be absorbed into its specific portrait.


The words said: pause,

brought me into the sun rising over the field,

out of the dark forest that was covered with bramble

and dead rooted trees.


I found a way out, I held a hand, briefly,

but long enough to be healed.

I saw the old cat smiling on the mat,

the old dog as happy

as he was when he was young,

a house embroidered with the harmony

that comes after journeying

through the trapped corridors of hell.





I am on horseback with my chestnut-red friend,

galloping near the round edge, certain of our flight –

both of us embodying a perpetual exhilaration,


          and where, where are we going? so fast?

          so in tune? – no words now –

          just a sweet-nectar symbiotic flow.


Call these words a dream. Call them bohemian.

Back away. Throw the stone. Seal them.


All bars and walls are purgatory-spent,

blown over

(lick your lips, let the spider live)


blow it over, behind.




© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “The Conclusion Magazine, Issue 2” December 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:




A Glimpse


A Glimpse



There was a glimpse

of a sunrise, a dazzling ending

and wild grass, lush and life-filled

to walk towards, into, barefoot and perfect

as God’s grace is perfect, reducing the darkness

unnameable and innocence, reclaimed.


There was a moment

when I could see like a prophet sees

or a sorcerer, flexing joy in dimensional

vividness, dilated, stripped of

my armour, tension and dread.


Army on a hill, hungering for the water flowing

downstream. Woman on a ship, surrounded

by the sea with a kicking babe in her expanded belly.

Is there land? Is it heaven or just a dream?


If I risk, I risk it all

with nothing to risk it for in sight.

If I stay, I am a drowned clover,

no different than the meat-eaters,

the non-shapeshifters and the drones.






What do I say to the arrested vision,

the backward plucking?

I had a glimpse, a gift

of jewels overflowing.

Am I mad, believing? I think I am,

trapped in this curse – hours upon years

chipping at the granite with my teeth, pushing

my way through with no end in sight, damaging

the sack around my heart,

relentlessly fulfilling my duty.


There was a glimpse,

something of God in a ghost-filled place.


Someone tells me to believe that this darkness

is ending, that the gamble is launched

and victory is already

in my hands.






If I could astral-project, I would go

to that place I glimpsed, just to be sure it was there.

If I could be more than I am, I could find peace

in the corner of this prison cell.


The birds say one thing, and my body another.


The glimpse was here and it was hope.

I will not deny its existence.

I will not fight its wound or its expectation,

but surrendering to my limitations,

into the wet earth,

I will give way, pacified.



© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “Outlaw Poetry” November 2018





You can listen to the poem by clicking below:



Slipping off the Side


Slipping off the Side



Never holding, always holding

up, down, back

past the white-light knockout strike,

the broken dishes, the failed vision.

Always guilt as agency – sweet sun

out of reach, when reached, just a hot huge

stone that must be released. Watching the reptilian

garden diggers, the small-soul claim joy in evil,

sit on the hay stack, seeding its throne

and start a royal lineage.


Entire bloodlines behind bars – Children hated.

I see the same name on all my friends’ faces.

My insides have become strewed. 

I have only a guiding breath breeze in

a state of blindness, dialectics, repetitions

saying “Do not be attached”. Out of the box

then back in again.


I would make a casserole if I knew how.

I would connect everyone

with a wink if the power was mine, if the cracking

double-take shame would release me-

moult and moult until it was small, easy enough to crush

and smear on the pavement.

I have shed these chains twice, maybe more,

maybe their returning power is just an illusion,

a phantom captivity.


When I was in the blue room with an entrance to the attic,

entities ripped into my skull when I slept,

channelling their destructive vocations.

I prayed on the forest floor and burned pages and pages

of long-hand. That was when

I stopped swimming and learned how to ride horses, before

I almost joined a neighbourhood,

whizzed past neighbours on a bike, leaving a mark.

I wish I was caught in the loop of simple competition,

knew my place at the starting line,

claiming trophies at the finish line,

climbing tall chunky trees in the summer or

racing up and down fire escapes for the fun of it.



© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “Outlaw Poetry” November 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:



Girl by Allison Grayhurst

Creative Talents Unleashed

Under the willow tree a girl

was standing, lonely with

the worst of nights ahead.

They said

drink from the tar pit waters and swallow

the oysters that lost their shells.

She saw the drug the wind made

though she did not let it shift her steadfast heart.

Everywhere the notion stood

that fighting back is better than

the tender wave, better than

empathy and believing in affection.

The willow leaves have gone brown and the girl has moved

beside a cliff. She dances as though she

could not fall. And though they gasp to pity

her poor body against rocks and ridges,

she continues to move like a beautiful sound,

sure of the hand that guides her.

© Allison Grayhurst

BookCoverImage Allison Grayhurst

Excerpt from the book “Trial And Witness – Selected Poems”

$13.95 Plus Shipping ~ Available at CTU Publishing Group and

Allison Grayhurst About the Author

Allison Grayhurst is a member…

View original post 199 more words

Private-Parts – A Documentary Directed by my daughter Ava Harness

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Private-Parts: A Documentary on Sex Ed and Democracy


Private-Parts: A Documentary on Sex Ed and Democracy

3 hrs ·

Private-Parts is a documentary that explores the personal effects that the Ontario sex education curriculum change has had on its’ students, teachers and parents, told from their own words and shown through their daily lives.

Doug Ford has reverted the 2015 curriculum back to the 1998 one, which excludes topics like consent, the LGBTQ+ community, indigenous culture and cyber-bullying – topics that the 2015 curriculum required to be taught.

Thousands of children are now learning that their families, their sexuality or gender are not ‘normal’ enough to be mentioned in their schooling. This film is incredibly important because it is critical to portray these families and students and give them a chance to voice their opinions.

By supporting our page and spreading the word, we will be able to reach everyone that wants to be a part of the film and we will be able to create material that showcases the heart of the problem.

If you want to have your voice heard or support the film, you can follow our page and reach out to us through it, or through our email.

We are including all walks of opinion.

Poster by Ava Denise Harness

Directed by Ava Denise Harness