Shell of a Serpent


Shell of a Serpent


These are great things,

you take

with your mounting neglect.

They are things cast out

of the “beautiful”, that

dig into polar ice and

fossilize there; numb,



And though you feel superior,

inhuman, hovering above

like the moon, with your face carved

in one constant expression, you yourself

will not give light to the

lonely, will not illuminate

for the sake of another’s need.


Your own pain – cunning, hunting – is

a tentacle that quivers cold-blooded

for pity’s gullible caress.


You distance your heart from the humble dancers.



Copyright © 1997 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “Writer’s Quarterly”



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.

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