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:



I walked the Circle


I walked the Circle



I walked in a strange place

where light was named darkness

and darkness named light

and knew it was my new home.


How can this be? I asked myself,

inspecting each inversion

of authenticity. Gravity, I answered,

wiping off dust, pulling down the thick clouds.


Sorrow crept into my sleep, confusion

hijacked my taste buds.

Beauty was seen only

in the plastic, unnaturally perfect.

And the mortal gift, betrayed.


Among the ants and rodents I felt safe,

pretended I was their kin, and they welcomed me.

We crept through weeds, jumped

branches and collected.


I gave myself a name,

refusing the strength of my true identity,

refusing the insight

I first had upon arrival.

The rivers looked blue that were really red,

the petal of the rose lost its bright juniper green.

Love lost the nipple flow of eternity and I didn’t know

anyone I could lean my head upon.


Memory is rounded, has no starting point, is the point of time.

These are the consequences, linear trepidation and

the quenching of fear and the felt-superiority of every nation.

Because the bread crumbs became the feast and the feast

was swept under the rug, willfully ignored.


I love my chains, I admit it. I love the deep ache and bother

because it is familiar, inertia, mine. But here

I announce

I will trade it for connection, for inexperience, the courage

of extreme risk.

I will forge in unknown territory, set things right

at least here in my world.


I have no king in gravity. I have no sound

forbidden to me.

The war cry is a split tongue and it deceives.

My war cry is the path Jesus takes me on

– walk, run, sit down – that is the way.


There are better places.

I love the red tree. I love the folding cold fires, insects

on my arms. Take care. Descend. Pick up speed.

I had a father. I have a father no more.

I had a brother. He never was.

I have children, now they are grown.

Shame on torment. Shame for not not

letting go. Shame on shame.


Judgement is set aside, hidden behind the bench.

The bird feeder is up, the bird bath too.

Let them come, the birds, all manner of beast and fowl.

Let them find sanctuary here.


All seasons, I am learning,

are holy places, and all colours

are sacred, unnameable, the same.




 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “Night Forest Cell of Radical Poets” August 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:








         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.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:


Because it is a Stone


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.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” August 2018


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:








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.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst


Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” August 2018


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:








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.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” August 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:




Promised Land


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.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” August 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:



She said


She said



there is a man who walks around town

who thinks he is Elvis.

It is a cliché, I know, the crazy man who thinks he is Elvis.

But this guy is for real, she says.


He wears a white low-cut button suit, chest hairs showing,

and those 70’s flared pants.

Sometimes, he even flaunts a red cape.

He wears a black wig that each week

the barber pretends to cut.

(That kind of compassion is rare!)


Everyone shows him kindness.

He gets free day-old muffins at the doughnut shop,

and when Joyce is working, she throws in a coffee.


How cool it would be to walk around in white,

feeling like a king, never paying for breakfast,

everyone smiling at you, treating you as a rarity.


People take pictures, videos, come up to him

and ask him to sing. He never does,

just lifts the one side of his lip

and dramatically flips his red velvety cape


purchased years ago

at the local used-clothing store.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Outlaw Poetry” August 2018


You can listen to the poem by clicking below: