I Find Clarity

 

I Find Clarity

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I find clarity

beside the open coffin

beside the one made of glass

with the see-through dogma

and beside the one of simple majesty.

I find myself free of the cumbersome hunger

for revival. I find myself just wanting

to be in the shadow, away from direct

light and the attitude of sentimentality and guilt.

I find my hands are strong and my legs

are capable of walking long distances.

I find that that is enough

to complete me.

I find food in someone else’s grocery cart

and my thirst is something I have learned to live with.

I find I am not so impressed with what used to

impress me. I am not striving for passion

at every turn, but I find passion at the lower levels

where rodents crawl and babies

muse at the ceiling.

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Copyright © 2008 by Allison Grayhurst

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First published in “Jumping Blue Gods”

 

The Book

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The Book

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Inside, spending all my coins, rejoicing

on ephemeral longing, on a lustful inhale

for physical redemption.

 

Hidden in the pages, I am hidden

at four in the morning, bathing in perfection,

lifting into heights that obscure drudgery.

 

Thoughts are shapes that float as shadows,

hardly solid like butter left out of the fridge.

Cages unraveling and houses cleaned of cobwebs.

Between soft book covers freedom kisses explicitly,

candy-ices without embarrassment.

 

Hanging on hinges, on barely glanced-at walls,

I gather my vision in the grass, paint on the

bones of another’s life – beautiful bones and hallways

of many feet walking and swishing bathrobes.

In the book I can face forward and never fear rejection,

I can shower sensuously in warm rhythms,

tied to the stirring light of early summer.

Love between these diary covers is not just canvass

or thick hues that merge and make a middle, it is where I will

at last know another’s body as I know my own, be protected

from the torrential pawing pierce of middle-age loneliness.

 

Inside the book, you are under me like a bed of lavender bushes,

there are waves where once sunken skeletons rise like coral,

polished pure of their violent history.

 

Drowning in the book, imagining ants collecting,

synchronized on an apple core.

 

Bells in my head, footsteps rising, closer now,

you know me well. Inside the book, you know me better.

We are two trees – branches and roots, an interwoven crocheted

impressionistic portrait, staying through heavy storms.

 

Inside the book, we are creatures of greater sympathy.

You are like yarn, tied to my brush and hold, never in

the liquid valley of a distant boat, or obvious as a prickly,

rigid rope. I am mature, a woman with a ceiling to touch,

fifty feet of surrounding stillness, unfettered

from the expectations of my time and gender,

radiant, more, whole.

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Copyright © 2013 by Allison Grayhurst

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First published in “Wilderness House Literary Review”

 

 

Faith

 

Faith

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It is found,

found in a pocket on a jacket

that has not been worn for years.

It is an emblem of uncharted kindness

that cannot fade even when I falter.

It is a name on a wall

that changes but is always mine.

It is the end result, the start of all

things good.

It is not going to leave me, or seep

through the mattress, underground.

It is so beautiful, it has the whole of my being.

It is speaking to me from billboard signs,

from the ones I loved and lost.

It is the parcel I have been waiting for.

It is my graduation party,

my only hope for recovery.

It is warmth and well being.

It is Friday night.

It is a star-shaped candy,

and it is found.

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Copyright © 2006 by Allison Grayhurst

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First published in “Message in a Bottle Poetry Magazine”

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The gift of all this crumbles

with a single out-of-sync happening.

Geraniums are frosting over

and the high grass is yellowing.

Yesterday was a cat in symmetrical slumber,

pictures stood straight and warmth

was gathering like a sweet wind over the neighbourhood.

Does this mean it is my mind? like an insect living

one season, sees only that season, dies before winter,

content to have made it so long?

Does this mean the puddle

I jump in, wade in, determine in

is only a pail of water, nothing beside the ocean?

When the puddle is stirred from its stillness or

becomes a bath for snakes or dries up from too much sun –

it is still the puddle and will replenish again

as all puddles do in the rain, maybe

in the early evening just before the lion comes

to take a long, relaxed drink.

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Copyright © 2008 by Allison Grayhurst

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Review of poetry chapbook "The River is Blind"

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 First published in “Literary Orphans”, Issue 13, May 2014

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Lotus

 

Lotus

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        Sleep, into triumphant sleep,

waking is a tide of abysses and senses

reflecting illusions. Cursory stresses,

repairing at the bedside where my knees bent in prayer,

scuffing my skin with cosmic complaining.

        I’ve thought about this, and I’ve decided

not to care if I fail at swimming or grooming or trophy-getting,

or in collecting eggwhites, having more than what I have

necessary on the table.

        Love is the weathervane is the station,

earning eternity, a teaming ocean worthy of a dive.

The rest is a stunted fetus that will never coo

or be baby-dream sufficient.

        I’ve spent too long weight-lifting chaos’s hammer,

flinging myself from wall to stump.

I have eyes that hold me, another’s and another’s

I can take pictures of and sing to, and I wish for nothing

but to retain this fertility of tender revealing.

        Children and the final history of desire,

predestined to return as a speck – own my freewill,

multiplying with the rhythm of a brighter responsibility.

        Sleep, for I’ve never existed

but to count this love and to love this way

personal, a cliché of bloated ignorance,

with a mouthful of famine and an armful of miniscule miracles,

gestating, spiralling, blending into the soft brown sofa,

tea in hand, leaning on another, amazed

by how good this is and how very long

this cozy reverie has lasted.

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.Copyright  © 2012 by Allison Grayhurst

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First published in “Guwahatian, Volume 1, Issue 9”

 

 

You Are

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You Are

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            You are simple

like death is simple,

like death is unmistakable,

containing the most feverish and trying

of mysteries within

its boundless domain.

              You are beautiful

like a cat is beautiful

silently sitting,

galactic in its sensual form,

giving with its gaze

substance to voice and blood.

              You are fire-driven

like stars and like sex,

in perpetual combustion,

with an inner pulse of endless

dance, dancing

in savage, mystical tides.

              You are gentle

like a raindrop caught

in a lucky palm, gentle

like the shelter of a best friend’s arms.

              You are more than sun and bird and fox,

more than soil to my groundless heart.

              All I bless and all I need,

I hold because of you.

              No meaning nor madness

could replace the milk and breath

that you are.

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Copyright © 1998 by Allison Grayhurst

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Review of poetry chapbook "The River is Blind"

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Published in “Creative Talents Unleashed” website, November 2016

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You Are – Author Allison Grayhurst

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First published in “The Blue Hour”

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http://thebluehourmagazine.com/2012/12/27/you-are-allison-grayhurst/

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

https://allisongrayhurst.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/you-are.m4a

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River – Songs from the poetry of Allison Grayhurst

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https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/river-songs-from-the-poetry-of-allison-grayhurst/id1293420648

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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.

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The River is Blind chapbook review:

“An existential curiosity courses through Allison Grayhurst’s latest collection. It’s Grayhurst’s physical constraints that comfort us: a box sitting at the top of the stairs, housecats in states of wakefulness and sleep, the “snails and moss” that preoccupy her. Indeed, The River Is Blind situates itself firmly in the familial but imbues those relationships and domestic touchstones with a disembodied calm. Ambition and disenchantment linger along the fences of Grayhurst’s property but she remains candidly in the present.

“In lesser hands, muses such as these might’ve resulted in verses of weak-kneed contentedness. But Grayhurst’s voice remains one of detachment, webbing daily pleasures into greater meditations on love and God. Through spiritual lens, poems like “Everything Happens” and “Flies” counteract steadfast faith with insights on the material world, a separate world; a place where people grind flowers for honey,” Ryan Pratt, Ottawa Poetry Newsletter, January 30, 2013

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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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Desire

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Desire

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does not come

like tolerance, learned,

worked for. Withstanding

cruelty, dry lips,

wild pain, it grows larger

than love and God and grows

until all gestures reveal it.

 

Secretly in the shade of devotion,

it rages. Crouching behind churches and

stairwells, it tongues its drug sweeter

than touch. Burns the stomach, starves

the heart of faithful riches.

 

When it comes it has no error

nor the unanchored presence

of doubt.

 

When it comes, it comes riding,

circling like nightfall

the soul’s great yolk.

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Copyright © 1995 by Allison Grayhurst

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Published in “Keep Poems Alive” January 2016

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Keep Poems Alive International

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First published in “Drift, Issue #82”

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Published in “Creative Talents Unleashed” July 2016

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Desire – Author Allison Grayhurst

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

https://allisongrayhurst.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/desire.m4a

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Somewhere Falling has a richness of imagery and an intensity of emotion rare in contemporary poetry. Drawn in sharp outlines of light and darkness, and rich shades of colour, with a deep sense of loss and longing and the possibility of salvation, this is an unusual book by a gifted young poet. Grayhurst’s voice is one to which we should continue to pay attention.” — Maggie Helwig, author of Apocalypse Jazz and Eating Glass.

“Responsibility and passion don’t often go together, especially in the work of a young poet. Allison Grayhurst combines them in audacious ways. Somewhere Falling is a grave, yet sensuous book.” – Mark Abley, author of Glasburyon and Blue Sand, Blue Moon.

“Biting into the clouds and bones of desire and devotion, love and grief, Allison Grayhurst basks the reader, with breathtaking eloquence, in an elixir of words. Like lace, the elegance is revealed by what isn’t said. This is stunning poetry.” – Angela Hryniuk, author of no visual scars.

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