As the fledgling swallow falls

onto the rainy ground,

so false shields fall, leaving

us raw inside the middle, wet inside

the middle, spilling forth our old defence.


As the snows come in spring,

so greyness can cloak the brightest

change because it is change and is

hard to come by.


As two old people talk with their hats

and canes, so the angels talk to our hearts,

steadily being, patiently being beside

our every gesture.


As is the lamp in a winter’s night, so

is the grace that feeds our eyes

with its kindness. And holy is the one

who stumbles but finds a way to stand.

And holy is the effort to love when the dragon

embraces our being within its scaly arms,

tries to break our faith with fiery addiction, or

with bitterness as blue as its damp, hungering tongue.



Copyright © 1998 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “A New Ulster, Issue 35” August 2015


ANU issue 35



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.


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