Fill the ghosts with upward rejoicing
so that clouds turn to fishbones
and flies become islands learning a primitive mission.
Obey the shuddering perplexity of dwarfed aspirations
and still be able to cry clear, continuing ardent, when it is time.
I wish I was an actor, acquiring
the yolk of another’s journey, or the ear of an elk
twitching at the panther’s controlled inhale.
Flags and conquered greatness. Death, you
never share. You open and we watch you oil
every boundary with your vanishing act.
We smell you in the honeycomb and in the suffocating
many mutations of thriving pleasantries. You are sharp
as a broken shell – blowing shame from our feelings,
stiffening the streets we walk on so we walk on
straight, with the purpose of a mortal silver sun.
Here and here, there is nothing, not language, not history,
only forkfuls of burnt coal and some framed pictures.
Being a traitor to survival’s code, I have no use for finality.
I lived close to the rapids, skipping stones,
beating back shadflies. I was riding my blue bike.
Some almost-teenage children
hung my cat from a tree. I found him that morning,
a shadow swaying across a shadowy sky. I wasn’t allowed
to take revenge or cradle him, broken, a husk, goodbye.
Copyright © 2012 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Pyrokinection” and “Storm Cycle 2013” anthology
You can listen to the poem by clicking below:
“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,” 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.