Madness like Medicine


Madness like Medicine


I have waited for you

in the hours before the bursting dawn,

smelt your metamorphosis in the

open refrigerator, while you slept,

knowing nothing of your own power,

blistering, lifting through the sheets –

flesh crying out, laying over a door that will not open,

a door that gleams like a set of false teeth, with an

unattainable aura – gleaming Venus with plump

breasts and a lustful smile or Zeus with his absolute

authority, dominating your backside, your frontside, even

the interior plane of your strangling moods. You,

I have poured everything down the sink for,

not eating and not

anemic, but waiting – at peace with my jealousy

and my impatience. Will you hand me your slumber

of self-defeat and bitterness? I am not a dove.

I have slaughtered millions. I have waited.

Are you spreading, gathering, ready to be stripped? Still

sleeping, my lover, tight in your exile? Still brilliant,

but only in dreams? It is time for a shower –

to claim your nakedness.

We have no use for memories. We are lavish and

you are bare and brave and you do not believe it,

but you are ever so strong, at the moment just

before perishing, exposing

your warm, undeniable




Copyright © 2012 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “The Undertow Review”

Undertow Review 4Undertow Review 1Undertow Review 2


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 “Madness like Medicine

  1. These lines sums up the entire poem for me – so rich and intricate a poem it is – here goes, here grows the theme:

    “It is time for a shower –
    to claim your nakedness.”

    “while you slept,
    knowing nothing of your own power”

    “you are bare and brave and you do not believe it,
    but you are ever so strong”

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