Elizabeth Barrett Browning
A visionary of intricate simplicity –
her mind was a hymn
of starving tenderness, her voice,
like manna to the desperately lonely.
For forty years, away from friendly enchantments,
isolated by illness and the societal conditions
of womanhood, she held her belief intact and found
a kindred grief, a kindred gentleness
living in a man. Living for her,
a love at last, to parallel her intense
devotion. Living for her, a love awake to eternity,
terrible in its purity, saving.
She died one day in the depths
of her lover’s arms, leaving behind
her legacy, recorded by words
of faith and the rhythms of
those flooding fires.
Copyright © 1998 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “The Galway Review” July 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.
Review of The Longing To Be:
“The contents of Allison Grayhurst’s book The Longing To Be are both personal and universal and are described in such thematic and golden terms that one can see that a lot of thought has gone into each line. The poems are written mostly in free verse throughout, with both rhythm and soul weaved into them. For some poems, the layout seems experimental, and there is definitely a playfulness in the way that the words and verses fall onto the page. Others do conform to a “norm”, whatever that is. All are dramatic and thoughtful. These are layered poems with new horizons presented to the reader in every re-read. The effect is to keep things fresh with poems that constantly surprise in spite, and because of, the number of times being read. I thoroughly recommend The Longing To Be as a poetry book to study carefully and cherish far into the future,” poet Brian Shirra.