Samples of Allison Grayhurst’s poetry



I will make my way across the water


I will push my way

through the threshold,

bend over the edge then

let myself go – gravity,

mudslides and rock edges

will dictate my descent, but

I will look up and witness

the starlings amongst the sparrows,

the dislodged grass sprouts that take

the fall with me, above me

in gentle wave-like motions

with the wind.


These limbs will crash,

be cut from their flesh, and I will break

only to be reborn, a sapling, myself

graced with lifetimes of memories, stretching

my stem gradually into the light.


In time, animals will flourish under

my shaded canopy, and lovers

will carve their initials into my skin,

promising one another their exclusive eternity.


I will make my way across the water,

over the threshold and fall

to embrace the ground I came from.


Spread low, spread high – a century

or more guardian, a tree-fort reaper in a forest

far across the hill and still




Copyright © 2017 by Allison Grayhurst


First published in “Random Poem Tree” February 2017


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:




Crystal dark


sound, woodpecker

foraging, near, nearing


on my fingertips –

relaxed appropriation.

Backpacks and scarcity,

only the Zen flavour

of moving, taking necessities,

giving up newly bought coats

to strangers on buses.

Bus routes going to unexplained territories

vocalizing droning dreams

of the misused, disenfranchised

ruthlessly bored,

cardboard box lifespans

arrows pointing back from the way

you came,

mounds of

silver sorrows, pee-stains

on stones, what is left but dead planets done with

geological formations, never

knowing scattering amoebas, only

knowing failed attempts at rhythm, equilibrium,


aftermaths of harsh creation,

pointless rock-globes


with moons   no signs of summer.



Copyright © 2015 by Allison Grayhurst


First published in “Indiana Voice Journal, Issue 10” May 2015

Nominated for “Best of the Net” 2015


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:






Peeled of my own death,

entering a corridor of dawn,

heat without fire,

a staircase into the void,

buried in the gas furnace, this

guest that never comes, eats bread

or slips into the cradle of a comfortable

home. Pen and beauty, an inevitable

loneliness that victory cannot solve,

a transitory opera, bird songs, fragile,

almost breaking, vibrating at a desperate

but soft speed.


A woodland to walk through that inherits

a shadow canopy darkness. Walk through

regardless of doubts full-blown,

regardless of scrapes across your tender surface.

Love is just an image

as you walk,

sounds are menacing but

never reach crescendo,

never sustain the heavier beat that leads

to ecstasy’s blackout.


        Leaves become teeth.

        Impressions are unkind.

        Your husk is broken

        and your blood is a heap of

        dead violets crushed

        in a celebrated summer.



Copyright © 2014 by Allison Grayhurst


First published in “The Continuist”, June 2014 and print 2015/2016



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:




elegy of this day being


At the throat, brushed green like tile I shine.

The devil says “hum-drum”

as the eel struggles, futile like a wagging tail.

So many broken, hating with the hardness of crocodiles

and ants, pulling along their dead,

to consume, knowing nothing of sorrow or forgiveness.

All night I sit with my naked thighs

on the carpet, red from the heat.

What point could there possibly be

to all this pain, the death

of others, the sickness that swarms in mid-air?

Hurricanes hit the graveyards.

A gull tilts on a telephone wire. I wish to bid goodbye.

I wish for ice-cream cones in my fridge,

a handful of poppies to give some child,

any child, I meet.

I see dead eyes in my dream,

glossed with mucous and unbearable vacancy.

How do I serve when the world is so cold?

The humpbacks know this, the midgets

and also the centipedes.

I want to hide in rooms where

infants are sleeping or salamanders nurse their young.

The darkness is in me. The ground deceives me,

changes colours as I go.

Let us go now, my nightmares

and I, go under the light, go until

our heart’s blood is free-falling, exposed.



Copyright © 1998 by Allison Grayhurst


First published in the summer 2012 issue of “Parabola” called Alone & Together

Parabola – Alone and Together


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:






the brilliant fractures,

repetitions of wars and slaughterhouse squeals.

Once more, brought to the tower, looking

over – so easy to sway and not think of the

consequences. So easy to crash the wine bottle

over the piano stand and stop the bad music playing, forgetting

there are so many things better left unexplored,

like feelings that extinguish boundaries,

that are soft as loneliness or under-appreciation.

Sunglasses always worn. Endure, wait for fullness or for medication,

wait for that one hour to be adorned by another’s desire,

embroidered into another clothes – when wounds and failures,

(for that hour) are reduced, overpowered.

Moon mountains and muscles,

patterns build life. God,

there is creation without you – there is everything –

grandfathers, butterflies and sand dunes.

Unpredictability is glorified. Minds rejoice,

gaining rules, workable explanations. Endure,

why must I? Why, when denied

a boat, a bed, a simple wild hand roaming? Love is absurd.

Love is you God, and you are outside of all this, waiting for an invitation,

tender as a new mother’s nipple, flowing.



Copyright  © 2012 by Allison Grayhurst


First published in “Nostrovia!”


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:




I heard a poet say


 that doing art is a denial of self. I say

it is an inclusion of God into the self.

It is not simply a dialogue nor is it intellectual banter,

but it is being intoxicated with the fullness of seeing God there

with every thought – in the swimming pool while treading water,

or at the hair dresser, drinking coffee, waiting for a turn.

    A pebble is paradox like time travel is, or a meteor

entering the earth like a man enters a woman –

a synergy of the round and the sharp,

splicing, splitting, until more splicing and splitting, until

dependency on oxygen is born.

    Speculation, lectures, ceremonies

are deeds to occupy but never to explain.

Hair like a mammoth’s – how I long to run

my knuckles through its thickness and ancestry!

I am not intimidated by people with busy days

and many different shoes. Brown

has become my favourite colour, and grey, that too

is magic. I knew this when I was young: True intensity is subtle,

is equal in its magnitude as it is to its intricacy –

It commands exploration.

    When I was young I knew God was with me at every

threshold, standing inside my flesh. Since then,

I have played with death,

held conference with death as a sister.

    But even such sibling biology

cannot cull this communion I have discovered,

can’t vacuum apart indelible combined-shapes

into quarantined segregation.

    I have known death’s jolts, have known its harrowing cripple

and crack, and know it cannot revert humanity back to that

interval before God exhaled, altering the playing field,

resulting in

such a mighty fusion. 



Copyright © 2012 by Allison Grayhurst


First published in “Whisper”


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:






    Coming down, knowing now

that everything known is blindness,

deciphered speculation – constellations out there

that spin, conjoin, burst and create

are mesmerizing but lifeless – into the future,

out from the past – the power is menacing, somewhat, and

somewhat stale, stagnant, just ‘happening’ like storms happen

and the rising of the moon.

    Rain on a leaf or an orange tabby chasing a shadow is

accessible, pleasantly startling, metaphysically invasive.

    Many serious intellects are left crawling from the lack of

sleep, from acquiring too many codes and smug victories.

    We are small, inside this body of God – a city, drooling with

arrogance and inquisitiveness. That is us in motion, devouring

the zenith and charting out mysteries.

    But things get caught on other things. Dead butterflies

can still glow – behind clean glass, inside Berber-carpeted

buildings, all fluorescent lights and classifications.

    We can point and name and even think

that energy starts and ends, forget that everything is circulation

and that life here is simple:

It would rather copulate, raise offspring, than count stars.

    Inside this body of God, we are cupped in fluid boundaries,

by instinct, by undeniable emotion, stronger, yet part of,

cerebral musings.

We feed from the Earth and we get hungry.

    We have these telescopes, our catacombs of understanding,

but we also have pilgrimage, crust, heartbeat, dying,

soccer fields and song.



Copyright © 2012 by Allison Grayhurst


First published in “The Weary Blues”


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:




When This Is Over


At the end of the day, the pears will be ripe

and the ones I loved and died will float before me

in waves of growing beauty.

At the end, when all of this leaves, then I will breathe

an owl breath, still in my tranquil sky.

At the end, I will find you, thank you for this sick chaos –

myself, a garden, hit by a massive storm.

I will give life again to the little birds, insects that have no

use or concept of glory. I will return with you

to the Buddha waters, happy to know so much love.

I will walk out my door and there will be summer,

early summer, and you and I

(though bruised and that much more

world-weary) will walk into the warmth:

ultimately loved, unequivocally whole.



Copyright © 2010 by Allison Grayhurst


First published in “Bigger Stones”


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:




Sight at Zero


        I am where fireflies dance

in a birdless noon.

        I am treading water, looking

for a lodged piece of land

        or even a dolphin’s fin

to navigate me through this

        wounded sea. The air

is smoking & a world

        away lovers assassinate love

for the sensation of pride.

        Rain, drumming onto my neck, onto

my jugular, rain spewed from

       the moon’s mouth, enters & dissects

worse than any broken fame. Too late

        to cross the inner clouds. Too long lost

in the wood under a weird & angry sun.

        It is my jealousy

that has woken, generous

        with hate. It is agony & frailty

like an eggshell hammered

        by a razor’s sharp tongue.

I see dragons rise

        from sand dunes. I hear

the laughter of a bride. My days are closed.

        My element (water, hymn, water)


        for wishbones.



Copyright © 1995 by Allison Grayhurst


First published in “Jones Ave.”


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:




Sheaves of Time


Sheaves of time like wispy hair

freed to the wind, fall on me,

tickling my skin with their subtle happening.

Happy are the people with soap opera love

and yellow hair.

Happy am I rolling and stretching & rolling

under the great white sun. I am moved

to deliver my package at noon. I am myself bonded

to my mission like ligaments to the bone.

Sheaves of time drift on my plate

like leaves from my favourite tree.

Call me out from my doubt and let me

love each day as new, with the kind of hope

only children hold, or lovers caressing faces,

feeling eternity on their fingertips.



Copyright © 2000 by Allison Grayhurst


First published in “Oh! Magazine: Ryerson’s Arts and Culture Voice”


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:




4 responses to “Samples of Allison Grayhurst’s poetry

  1. OH MY GOD…

    you have just become a part of my morning spiritual practice!

    I LOVE IT!

    Wow… I LOVE listening to the audio – it takes me somewhere – profound and important and reminds me of what is most important in life

    …the poetic majesty behind it all!

  2. davidstrachan611 – Scotland – That's me being hauled up the stony path of reality against my will and that's me too, boat against the current, on the Seine, with the love of my life (but not me of hers alas alas). That's me. And that's me walking on water. Likes? Dislikes? I have always liked Andrew Wyeth, Hopper, Kafka, Anthony Gormley, Beethoven's Late Quartets, the Brontes, Eric Cantona, both Richard Burtons, Tracey Solomon, Brel, Jane Austen, Cartier-Bresson, Glendronach, Highland Park, though not necessarily in that order. I find Rob Bryden Steve Coogan Ricky Gervais Russel Brand Larry David Garry Shandling very funny - La Strada is still my favourite film, Empire of the Sun also - Pity about Woody Allen. J.D. Salinger's short stories still impress - 'Just before the war with the Eskimos' -great title! Peter Cameron's 'One Way or Another' I've reread and reread. And Eleanor Bron's 'Life and Other Punctures' is again one of the books I still reread with constant affection. And Chekhov. And Kafka. And Carver.. Politically I like Cesar Manrique, the polymath caring creator of Lanzarote sadly killed in a car crash on the roundabout a mile from his specatacular lava-bubble home.I used to be revolutionary now I' more evolutionary. Didn't like Blair, changed my mind about Maggie Thatcher, despair of Scottish football and Scottish politics.. One day I'll fly away.... it says below: 'Tell people a little about yourself'....has this little been enough? Too much? Tell me a little about yourself - or a lot...... )
    davidstrachan611 says:

    metaphysical and musical!

    • Allison Grayhurst – Toronto, Canada – Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Four of her poems were nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2015/2018, and one eight-part story-poem was nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2017. She has over 1,375 poems published in more than 525 international journals and anthologies. In 2018, her book Sight at Zero, was listed #34 on CBC’s “Your Ultimate Canadian Poetry List”. In 2020, her work was translated into Chinese and published in "Rendition of International Poetry Quarterly" and in “Poetry Hall”. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then, she has published twenty-one other books of poetry and twelve collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012. In 2014 her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series. In 2015, her book No Raft – No Ocean was published by Scars Publications. Also, her book Make the Wind was published in 2016 by Scars Publications. As well, her book Trial and Witness – selected poems, was published in 2016 by Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group). More recently, her book Tadpoles Find the Sun was published by Cyberwit, August 2020. She is a vegan. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; Collaborating with Allison Grayhurst on the lyrics, Vancouver-based singer/songwriter/musician Diane Barbarash has transformed eight of Allison Grayhurst’s poems into songs, creating a full album entitled River – Songs from the poetry of Allison Grayhurst, released 2017. Some of the places her work has appeared in include Parabola (Alone & Together print issue summer 2012); SUFI Journal (Featured Poet in Issue #95, Sacred Space); Elephant Journal; Literary Orphans; Blue Fifth Review; The American Aesthetic; The Brooklyn Voice; Five2One; Agave Magazine; JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, Drunk Monkeys; Now Then Manchester; South Florida Arts Journal; Gris-Gris; Buddhist Poetry Review; The Muse – An International Journal of Poetry, Storm Cellar, morphrog (sister publication of Frogmore Papers); New Binary Press Anthology; Straylight Literary Magazine (print); Chicago Record Magazine, The Milo Review; Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; The Antigonish Review; Dalhousie Review; The New Quarterly; Wascana Review; Poetry Nottingham International; The Cape Rock; Ayris; Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry (now called The Journal); The Toronto Quarterly; Existere; Fogged Clarity, Boston Poetry Magazine; Decanto; White Wall Review.
      Allison Grayhurst says:

      Thank you!

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