Before Atonement


Before Atonement


At night I was full

like others are in summer,

myself, just a silhouette at dawn,

part of a church, but never part of

a calling.

I would look for owls as I canvassed unfamiliar roads

in winter, when everyone was lonely and the vein

of fulfillment pulsed obscure. I would knock on doors,

smile as though I was innocent, young in my hope

and inspired by ideals. Sometimes I would have tea and talk

as though I understood something, secretly carrying my

pink powder in a small golden tin,

desperate for any kind of magic.

The smell of that powder – sweet, unusual and old – the feel

of that powder – like rubbing thick blood between

finger and thumb – I was someone with that powder –

maybe a witch, maybe a prophet – someone

who communed with the gangs of cats that would

emerge past dinnertime; sit under cars, behind tree trunks

watching me as I watched them.

At night, the van would pull up and I had so little to say,

except to the driver. We loved our silence,

the awkward closeness

of agreed non-personal communication.

For me, there was only those nights and books,

there were only incoherent surreal images

storming my brain, longing to be submerged

in hard hard substance.



Copyright © 2008 by Allison Grayhurst


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.First published in “blackmail press issue 39”, March 2015

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Published in “Section 8 Magazine” May 2015

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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.


Reviews of ‘The Many Lights of Eden’:

“’The Many Lights of Eden’ is a journey: a journey of the heart through youth, anguish, struggle, spiritual awakening, grief, death, love, loss, guilt, struggle, despair, hope, surrender, God, sensuality, imperfection, motherhood, aging, the vanquishing of the devil, indeed, many devils, the inevitable fall from perfection and the casting off of old wineskins for a new one. Perhaps speaking of this book as a chronicle of spiritual maturing would be more accurate, the realization that there is spirituality within imperfection and that handmade temples cannot hope to compete with the spiritual temples within each of us. ‘The Many Lights of Eden’ is a diamond. It is a beautiful collection of insights. Allison Grayhurst’s thoughts and writings are a deep well. Drink from it, for the water is clear and crisp. This collection is a MUST-READ,” Eric M. Vogt, author of Letters to Lara and Paths and Pools to Ponder. 

 “I have been slow at responding to reviews for Allison Grayhurst due to summer’s busy days, however she brings life to each poem, heart to the images and everyone should have a collection of Grayhurst Poetry,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet.



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