Silence

Silence

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I lift the bullfrog from the waters.

Bread, parables and staying close to a legend –

these are things of joy. I am thinking of the grave

near the willow tree, whose roots have grown

around the coffin, and of a sailing ship

that has no home port, but drifts like

a hollow log on living waters.

Freely I made my room and closed the door.

I knelt for our starved country, and grief

wrapped around my sleep, landing safely in my arms.

My father, I dream of your flame. I miss the woods

and your kind goodbyes. Tomorrow is a keyhole

that shapes my hopes with tiny possibilities.

If I could rise like grass from dirt, then

my nerves would be brave and the smell of the sun

would heal me with prayers.

If my eyes were an ocean where the whale

and the seahorse gathered, then I could see mercy

in the shark’s primitive teeth, I would

lie on the surface of a wave,

catching the colours of dusk with

my out-stretched tongue.

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Copyright © 2000 by Allison Grayhurst

3005

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

 

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First published in “Boston Poetry Review” titled “In The Silence”

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http://bostonpoetry.wordpress.com/tag/allison-grayhurst/

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

https://allisongrayhurst.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/silence1.m4a

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“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.

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4 responses to “Silence

  1. In the spoken version ‘the hollow log’ becomes ‘death’ and woods becomes ‘words’…?
    “Tomorrow is a keyhole/ that shapes my hopes with tiny possibilities” – I just like that for the way it sounds and flows and changes meaning as it goes

    Like

  2. Allison, I am not doing so good today. As Anna Mark says, up and down, up and down is the pattern of cancer treatments. Still, I could not help but comment on this poem–at least a little. It feels classic to me from the first lines onward.
    I lift the bullfrog from the waters.
    Bread, parables and staying close to a legend –
    these are things of joy…
    If I heard that at night around a campfire beneath a shining silver moon, I would say, softly, amen, amen. But of course this is a poem of grief, of the grave by the willow tree, a sailing ship with no port, and it gains part of its power from the contrast between the opening lines and the following lines. There are so many metaphors and such limbic power in the early lines of this poem that you could almost write a book about the poem and how metaphors relate to its emotional content and the human heart..

    My father, I dream of your flame. I miss the woods
    and your kind goodbyes. Tomorrow is a keyhole
    that shapes my hopes with tiny possibilities.
    These lines are so meaningful, telling us so much about your father in his kindness expressed through goodbyes, and how time has shrunk to a tomorrow of key holes that is left with only tiny possibilities.
    The ifs at the end are exquisite in their expression, reminding us that inside grief there are always ifs, but they are not the ifs of possibility and hope, but impossibilities that fill us up with remembering.
    This is a great poem.

    Like

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