The Last Walk of the Mayor of Casterbridge


The Last Walk

of the Mayor of Casterbridge



              Heaving strange

the pride in my mouth that will not drown.

After all love given and failed, to hold only this body

of a starved finch, gold but lifeless like all else

that has inspired me on. I shifted extremes, bandaged

my disappointments in bitter hate and landscapes

where only serpents were resurrected.

              Of my self, I have no virtue to defend, what I have

is impulsive and merciless, and a fortune

that has placed my fate at the feet of a cunning enemy.

              That I was saved from the seal of drunken suicide.

That I saw my own image float in the river, giving

seed to a non-judgemental faith, and she, my daughter

(who knew nothing of resentment), cradled my cure

in the compassion of her eyes.

I walk with a simple fool trailing behind who says

I was rough but somehow kind, who seems to show concern

when I stumble and for my face so down,

it will never see daylight again.

He carries me to an abandoned shack

where soon I will die – he, unaware of the killer that I am.

              If my daughter finds me, never let her know

the loneliness that drove my desperate deeds or the fear

I felt of losing her natural devotion. If she finds me,

tell her not to put flowers where I rest. Tell her not to grieve

the aftermath dust of the likes of me – a crushed,

unatonable man.



Copyright © 1998 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Asian Signature, Vol. 5, No. 1” July 2018



First published in “Medusa’s Kitchen” June 2017


You can listen to this 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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