When I saw your blank eyes
and your face terrible and thin,
I thought of a night with no mercy,
I thought of a new form of life that only
the slowly dying can know, that tortures
the wearer like having no exit from a haunted house.
I thought how quickly my father died without
the tight throat and mindless whispers, and of you,
long ago with your blue eyes, clear and independent,
swimming with the wonder of discovery.
I remember your walk – giant, focused – that now
with only one leg, you will never know again.
I thought of those nights spent watching your hands
bring strength and comfort to the clay
like they would to a lost child.
Now I praise you with those same hands, frustrated,
trembling, searching for your mother tongue.
I praise you with the blankets pulled off
your dying limbs, forgetting my name
and the reasons why I love you – you,
always so brave an individual, now like a hymn
torn away from the nadir of its voice, away
from the zenith of its song.
Copyright © 2002 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Profiles in Poetry Literary Zine” November 2015
Published in “Duane’s Poetree”, May 2016 under the titel “Elizabeth”
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“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.