Our Light Cannot Always Burn Whole

Our Light Cannot Always Burn Whole


    Nests that stay through winter

are similar to us at times – left abandoned

on high barren branches,

valueless until spring – if ever, even then, reclaimed.

    We jog through bitter uneatable harvests, absorbing

disappointments as our only viable feast,

not heeding our self-honouring needs,

too proud to address imagined or deliberate injuries.

    Jackets buttoned to the neck,

we move in these sewer shafts,

trying to shake the foaming stench off

of each other’s tailored attire.

    On our bed, we are broken, letting our arms rest

like a Spanish squid’s tentacles would rest,

pulled from pulsing waters. Our mouths

primed for confession,

our eyes scanning features – short hair, skin under the eyes,

familiar necklines.

    We tell each other these things are worth

the horror of abominations

accepted as societal norms, atrocities justified

as a soldier’s directed bullet.

    Here in a shut-in space, we can lock,

shed faculties of crusted reason,

create a colourful spread of sensuality, messaging

our blood vessels with deep oxygen, curing, learning

to make saliva and swallow.

    We tell ourselves sometimes we wish

we could be like those who live

never knowing an intimate tender beauty,

like those who get shipwrecked,

daily hunted by a cancerous loneliness.

    At times we wish this love didn’t exist,

then we could give in to what lies beyond

the cliff, defend our exit, salt the Earth

with a dramatic departure.

    Those times, we hear a desolate chorus rising

and we vanish completely into its volcanic siren wind.

    Other times, we talk. We watch squirrels dance across

our backyard trees, make tea, passing domestic glances,

gladly sharing the last spoonful

of bottled honey.



Copyright © 2011 by Allison Grayhurst







First published in “The Muse – An International Journal of Poetry” Volume 3, Issue 1




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.


Book reviews of the River is Blind paperback:

“Throughout (The River is Blind), she (Allison Grayhurst) employs 
reiterated tropes of swallowing and being consumed, spatial fullness 
and emptiness, shut- in, caverns, chasms, cavities; angels, archangels, 
blasphemy, psalms; satiation or starved. With a conceit of unrequited sex as “my desire”, nocturnal emissions, awakening in the morning, the poet lives at capacity, uninhibited, dancing,” Anne Burke, poet, regional representative for Alberta on the League of Canadian Poets’ Council, and chair of the Feminist Caucus.


“Allison’s poetic prose is insightful, enwrapping, illuminating and brutally truthful. It probes the nature of the human spirit, relationships, spirituality and God. It is sung as the clearest song is sung within a cathedral by choir. It is whispered as faintly as a heartbroken goodbye. It is alive with the life of a thousand birds in flight within the first glint of morning sun. It is as solemn as the sad-sung ballad of a noble death. Read at your peril. You will never look at this world in quite the same way again. Your eye will instinctively search the sky for eagles and scan the dark earth for the slightest movement of smallest ant, your heart will reach for tall mountains, bathe in the most intimate of passions and in the grain and grit of our earth. Such is Allison Grayhurst. Such is her poetry. THE RIVER IS BLIND is a must-read,”  Eric M. Vogt, poet and author.


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