Hard As Cain
Against the down and heron white
the earth lifts up its collection plate.
Rivers and forests are overflowing with
amputees – a million voices nibbling away the sky.
Sour death against the dried thistles
and clouds are heavy with death’s pungent odour.
You draw the iron, you draw the fist
until at last you too will weep for the birds upon
Everything’s making too brutal a sense
as the yellow lawns are sprinkled.
You cannot give in to the ruling sun nor to the misfits
and courageous. Orphaned cubs and kids blank
with disease, ruined by the sanctity of your pocket.
Heaven is in a song. You strike a match
and burn all instruments with a shrug and a wave
of your formidable hand.
Copyright © 2004 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “The Blind Vigil Revue”
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.
The River is Blind chapbook review:
“An existential curiosity courses through Allison Grayhurst’s latest collection. It’s Grayhurst’s physical constraints that comfort us: a box sitting at the top of the stairs, housecats in states of wakefulness and sleep, the “snails and moss” that preoccupy her. Indeed, The River Is Blind situates itself firmly in the familial but imbues those relationships and domestic touchstones with a disembodied calm. Ambition and disenchantment linger along the fences of Grayhurst’s property but she remains candidly in the present.
“In lesser hands, muses such as these might’ve resulted in verses of weak-kneed contentedness. But Grayhurst’s voice remains one of detachment, webbing daily pleasures into greater meditations on love and God. Through spiritual lens, poems like “Everything Happens” and “Flies” counteract steadfast faith with insights on the material world, a separate world; a place where people grind flowers for honey,” Ryan Pratt, Ottawa Poetry Newsletter, January 30, 2013