Do not define me


Do not define me


Do not define me

as a woman, or a wheel

of rolling curves, with lipstick

in my pocket and perfect polish on my shoes.

I am not interested in shoes.

I carry this body with two breasts

and I have born and raised children

like a sacred treaty between the unmarked countries

of time and infinity. I have loved with two arms,

lived with thoughts of Schopenhauer in my sleep

and nurtured the orphan pup. Do not define me –

my sexuality is not confined to the tender receiving sigh,

not to the congregation of gossip and giggles

and the making of apple strudel. I do not knit,

though I bow to the knitters

more than I do to the intellectuals, and gossip bores me.

Talking bores me unless it is about God or the many ways

we are given to love – children, animals, art.

(Lover’s love I only speak about in poetry, because that is

private). Do not define me. I would love to be

straight lines, proudly hanging, perfectly clear.

I would like to be brutal. Women can be brutal,

can be like a smile –

gloriously giving, razor sharp, androgynously




Copyright © 2011 by Allison Grayhurst


First published in “Blue Lake Review”


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.



5 responses to “Do not define me

  1. annjohnsonmurphree – I am an individual that has experience life with nothing more than “minimal creature comforts”. Born into a motherless life, making my way to adult situation that was habitually harmful, within that realm of ambiguity I created five beautiful children, three of whom God has allowed me to keep close to me, two he has taken away from me. I reached an age where there were more years behind me than ahead of me. With that thought, I moved out of a life that I had become accustomed, jumping feet first into a world where I believed that I could survive, bringing with me my most important treasures, my children. Years go by quickly and I made the decision to “dream” and “live” these last years as the person I wanted to be, a writer. Good or bad…I had something to say, my life and my experiences would be my subjects, and I learned the term “faction”. Welcome to my world. ajm
    writerannjohnsonmurphree says:


  2. Carl – I love music, poetry and fiction. Sometimes, I write essays. It is my outlet. Creating art helps me in my recovery.
    Carl says:

    This is a wonderful piece. It’s not easy to write defiantly and to do it so gracefully.

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