Once made of stone – Wellesley Street
What was the shape of that shelter before you came?
It was made of lost centuries of torment
and sporadic, but deep, connection.
It was more a seed than shelter,
protecting, feeding the blood dream of my ancestry.
Then you arrived and for awhile
we stuffed ourselves inside that shelter
like ying and yang, in zen-like union.
My path was to follow the dolphins – live in the sea,
breathe what I must and be happy.
But happiness was too hard,
I was left wanting the darker layers of guilt and grief.
Your path was to find what was given to you,
to re-claim your privilege, hand-printing the walls
as though you were king.
You took the bed, I took the floor. I paid the rent
and you shared your food. Soon that shelter then become
a fossil for me. And you and I – facing each other
with crossed arms, could not find a common ground.
The boy next door worshipped you, and more and more
I felt like the estranged sister, toyed with though loved.
I took my cat and left you with
the dollar day-old-donuts and the bottled water
you used to brush your teeth with. After that,
my trust was broken. And though we still painted together,
I never showed you my jewels or sorrows.
That shelter up all those stairs, overlooking
the streetcar tracks is now this paper, an inked-in memory
from any valley, flat plain or hill.
Copyright © 2008 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Poems and Poetry” May 2015
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.