A country lawn immaculately pruned,
extracted of weeds and anthills and the dead bodies
of its once small inhabitants.
It is nourishing to sing. Some
confuse music with water, resist the stark call
of your harsh features and quiet undertones of control.
Some don’t like to sit on lawns, would rather be on
a compost heap, digging for eggshells or even half a fruit.
Some need to dance when they should be standing still,
unable to earn medals or be garlanded with
authority’s praise. Tadpoles in a bitter pond –
sperm that cannot grow feet or claim a grown-up form.
They flush out of your system. And every flight they attempt
is arrested by you, you who are surface smooth with smiles,
but underneath, you are stretched cold rubber,
cracking like those lines framing your chin,
or like a flame to a tree,
you crack moist-with-life digits into splinters.
You should let the mad-ones go to India,
trace a path up Tibetan mountains.
You should be pleased to see them go, away
from your boarding school,
not there to tug your pierced ears or point out
your visceral smothering of the gentle dreamers.
They will go anyway.
They will stand in front. Not because they want to
but because they are not soldiers like that,
forming their destinies
in boxes. You can stay in corridors, make trenches
by pacing the patterns
of your congealed thoughts. You can be anyone
Copyright © 2012 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “The Foliate Oak Literary Magazine”, 2012
You can listen to the poem by clicking below:
“Allison Grayhurst intertwines a potent spirituality throughout her work so that each poem is not simply a statement or observation, but a revelation that demands the reader’s personal involvement. Grayhurst’s poetic genius is profound and evident. Her voice is uniquely authentic, undeniable in its dignified vulnerability as it is in its significance,” Kyp Harness, singer/songwriter, author.
“Allison Grayhurst’s poems are like cathedrals witnessing and articulating in unflinching graphic detail the gritty angst and grief of life, while taking it to rare clarity, calm and comfort. Grayhurst’s work is haunting, majestic and cleansing, often leaving one breathless in the wake of its intelligence, hope, faith and love amidst the muck of life. Many of Allison Grayhurst’s poems are simply masterpieces. Grayhurst’s poetry is a lighthouse of intelligent honour… indeed, intelligence rips through her work like white water,” Taylor Jane Green, Registered Spiritual Psychotherapist and author.
Book reviews of the River is Blind paperback:
“Throughout (The River is Blind), she (Allison Grayhurst) employs
reiterated tropes of swallowing and being consumed, spatial fullness
and emptiness, shut- in, caverns, chasms, cavities; angels, archangels,
blasphemy, psalms; satiation or starved. With a conceit of unrequited sex as “my desire”, nocturnal emissions, awakening in the morning, the poet lives at capacity, uninhibited, dancing,” Anne Burke, poet, regional representative for Alberta on the League of Canadian Poets’ Council, and chair of the Feminist Caucus.
“Allison’s poetic prose is insightful, enwrapping, illuminating and brutally truthful. It probes the nature of the human spirit, relationships, spirituality and God. It is sung as the clearest song is sung within a cathedral by choir. It is whispered as faintly as a heartbroken goodbye. It is alive with the life of a thousand birds in flight within the first glint of morning sun. It is as solemn as the sad-sung ballad of a noble death. 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. THE RIVER IS BLIND is a must-read,” Eric M. Vogt, poet and author.
“You should let the mad-ones go to India,
trace a path up Tibetan mountains. You should be pleased to see them go,
away from your boarding school, not there to tug your pierced ears
or point out your visceral smothering of the gentle dreamers. They will go
anyway. They will stand in front. Not because they want to
but because they are not soldiers like that, forming their destinies
in boxes. You can stay in corridors, make trenches by pacing the patterns
of your congealed thoughts. You can be anyone
Raw power, magnificent.
I like ‘ let the mad ones go to India ‘; I like ‘congealed thoughts” I like the hesitation between ‘You can be anyone’ and ‘you want’; I’m not sure whether ‘Without’ means ‘outside’ or ‘not having’ and whether it is the title or the first word or both but I like it enough to think about it.
wow. finely crafted and disturbing, I guess intentionally; hope the madness did indeed become medicine…