Somehow I stood
dark and brave below the deck, in small spaces
emptied of shadows and science.
The walls took advantage of my privacy,
and before I could collect my wealth
I was tied to the mast of a pillaged and
hacked-away ship, joining the races
of hunted whales and tentacle creatures.
Dissecting the storm at my feet, seeping into
my lungs, I promised myself to live my last moments
without envy or rage. It was easily done
until my ropes became loose and I rose to
catch a breath, catch sight of my splintered sea-house
where there was wood all around – dead bodies of comrades,
but no sharks, no children needing my protection.
I promised myself another promise,
to die in meditation, fixing on the sky, transferring my pain
and crushed confidence to the stars’ philosophy of afterglow.
It is a long time to be still and look up.
It must be a painter’s journey. I must learn
to sprout roots from the tips of my frozen toes,
knowing water is not earth and earth
will never be a sailor’s deathbed or home.
Copyright 2012 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “The Milo Review”
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.