Open Valve


Open Valve


    I see a small tree

or a bush grown tall

where animals congregate on spindly branches,

lift up on their hind legs to nibble at buds.      

    I see the tip of a steeple pierce the skin of the sun,

liberating a liquid radiation, a voluminous spell

of brutish creation. More still, found in smells

and in houses with decorated front doors – a smorgasbord

of captivating elegance to consume.

    I hear angelic chatter, a high-pitched verbosity,

dimensional sound, enveloping, filling those places I walk by

that even ghosts have abandoned.

    The forest floor I am captain of

is embroidered with fine strands of rooted hope,

carpets made to curl toes on, made regardless

of other fruitions pillaged, fountains frozen, or children

discovered emaciated – jaundice seeping into their mouths,

tainting tangles of youthful hair.

    Looking up, looking down, coalescence clings to bark

like clay-mask granules. I am building on this forest floor,

spreading out like a legion of detached twigs

fallen over corner curbs. Like them,

I am proclaiming artistry in the natural-norm,

gratitude for subtle ingenuities.

    I see a way to effectively engage, disengage my body

from sticking to aluminum walls. I see a way to remember

the vegetables I planted, the wilderness that rises not-yet

to my knees. I see what it is that shields my sanity

from a dangerous rupture. It is air,

birdprints waxing the sky, delightful overflowing,

so overflowing

that it drowns any recollection of downpours, defusing

currents and currents of catastrophic cold.



Copyright © 2011 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “The Muse (An International Journal of Poetry)”

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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.



2 responses to “Open Valve

  1. Filled with the pungent odour of language wrapping itself around experience,
    both inner and outer, clanging out to be heard, felt, understood.

    “The forest floor I am captain of
    is embroidered with fine strands of rooted hope,
    carpets made to curl toes on”

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