One of the greatest souls I ever met

was in the body of a rat.

She was pure and noble, dissolved

in gentle love, a smooth essence, easy

to dive into.

      Her name was Lumin- named by my son

after the Shaolin clan virtue Focus.

In truth, it may sound crazy, something many

would smirk at or mock – but here she was –

holding an infinity of tenderness in her rat eyes,

every day, every night with her rat toes, her Dumbo ears

and her rat tail.

      She had a brain tumour and lived a year with it –

recovering five times from the brink of death, holding space

in the chair, giving up her seat on the throne to stay with us.

Every night for hours we stayed together, often

just looking into each other’s eyes.

      No one could know. I could have never guessed

that I would love a rat this much,

that such an untroubled expansive heart

could dwell in one so small, so shunned and disrespected.

      She loved and was able to receive love

like a child with her mother.

She saved my son during two years of teenage despair.

That was her music. There was nothing hard in her, nothing

that did not soften into joy- even when she was ill.

When she died


five minutes she struggled, panicked, lunging for breath.

My hands went on her. I prayed for God

to intervene with mercy.

For five more minutes she stopped lunging, was at ease,

gasping slightly, then stopped gasping

and the light radiated through and around her body,

and her breath and the beating of her chest stopped. Now

she is at rest, delighting fully in the wave.


      One of the greatest friends I have ever had was a rat.

And I have and have lost many friends in many body forms –

she was a shrine of layered clarity and kindness. She

was a great being, a resting point in God’s creation.

      One of the greatest souls I have ever met

was in the body of a rat.


Please listen. please understand. Holy. Holy. Holy halleluiah.

We are all joined.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Outlaw Poetry” July 2018


You can listen to the poem by clicking below:



My Body Goes by Allison Grayhurst

Creative Talents Unleashed

Through the blinds

my body goes soaring

touching the hawk and

choppy clouds.

It dips through the misty air

holding hands with the winter.

It opens its mouth to taste the wind

and sees a balloon float by.

Then it lands in dunes of sand

covered in unmarred snow.

A wren’s small footprints lead it down the

slope into the underbrush where a

hound dog has curled into a sleeping ball.

It tiptoes past to the side road where

two children are singing their ABCs

and making angels in the snow.

When back in flight, it rides the twilight’s rays

into this room and leans

to sip a drink of cold coffee, tasting

like liquorice candy.

© Allison Grayhurst

BookCoverImage Allison Grayhurst

Excerpt from the book “Trial And Witness – Selected Poems”

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In you I place

the hope of centuries,

a hope beginning before

the pounding of water on rock.

For you I sang the anthem

of my ancient race and

waited to hear a reply.

Before you, I stand

revealed, lonely, in need of change.

Against you, I lean

like a child who has never known parents

or any connection for so so long.

Because of you, I remember

the gifts in my hands, the core of my striving

and the reasons I have

to stay

  with you

  in you

  where I place

  my will and means

              to be restored.



Copyright © 2008 by Allison Grayhurst




Published in “SUFI Journal, Issue #95 Sacred Spaces” June 2018 (Featured Poet)

Sufi Journal Issue 95



Thread Count


Thread Count



Tumble down

the ocean stairs,

mounting the whales’ trail,

maneuvering depths and distances



Dream in the city at 5 a.m., accustomed

to the speech that comes just before the birds

awake and take away all formation of song.


This doorway, like a driving marked nightmare

cursing your already blooming cloud. Tomorrow

is the same leg-chain to drag behind, the same

shrinking dome to be lived under.


But tonight, I have you like a burning death,

one spot burning, one place in the house, fast

and immediate, wielding shapes

out of tall-far-away trees, from mind spaces,

fresh as newborn fish navigating

coral reefs and seeing which caves to hide in

or seeing what is hiding in –

patient predators.


Tonight, the bath water is ready, rooting

my body to its sensations.

The spell is dissolved, and clarity

becomes gold, a hailstorm of ecstasy, reaping

many more than one plateau, gliding gigantic above

these graves, loud, rudimentary, I have you,

nailing the flame

to both of our sinking thighs.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Outlaw Poetry” June 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:





The Last Say


The Last Say



Call it an infestation of worms

floor-mapping your innards.

Call it an impossible current

directing you over the crater-fall

or a whispered breath ricocheting

inside your skull that whispers “Loser!

Fool! You have never belonged!”


But you must belong, you must let it burn you out,

possess you with its electrical charge. Turn on

the microphone and scream its ownership

over you. Call it debris – plastic bags in the belly

of a dolphin. Call it hot liquid iron rising

to seal your throat, lock it so you cannot swallow.


Imagine yourself a greenhouse and store

your treasure there, place your orphaned lizards

in vegetable beds and tell them they are safe,

give them a home to thrive in.

Don’t crash or perish, but open, stay open

even as your nerves are poltergeist-haunted

and the flower you grew, counted on to keep growing

is snapped at the stem, ground-level.


How can you change it? You can’t. It is summer.

The last day of school. You wanted to harness your heart,

give it a safety net far from the rocks,

but it is all a choice – autonomous.

This is your nest, put in it what you will.

Trust in the green juice inside your branches,

don’t let the ice-melting platform at your feet prevail.

God is tender so you must be too,

keep your tenderness afloat,

even when soaked in frigid water.

Let the pressure threaten

to kill you. It won’t kill you.


Loosen the knot and climb under

the jettison cliff’s edge.

Hang upside down. It is a long way to fall,

but your arms are strong and something stronger still

is holding you in its sustaining embrace.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Outlaw Poetry” June 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:





The Field is Open


The Field is Open



Going on, unable to order

a plot of land that is not a prison pen.

Monotony spreading, reflected in

nerve endings frantic with anxiety.

Repetitive motion, futility rises, and also that voice

that wants to turn even this into a ceremony,

but can’t, can’t stomach the steps, the one-by-one steps

of petty materialism that must be endured, focused

on, taken so seriously. Going on, like a torturous

continuance, swelling the mind with mealworm madness.

Going on, with no way out, a lifetime sentence,

a sorrow that has metastasised into despair.


Dig out, dig me out, let the miracle rise and cover

my home. Multiplying buds – at the entrance, entering,

side-stepping this sinister fate, slicing

the circle, cleared of the heavy shadows, cleared

to name a new street and walk down it.


Receiving like birds receive

music, breaking the ethereal framework,

dissolving the rut grime delusion,

peeking over the top, peace

taken into the mouth, peace

that is grace, that is receiving,

fastened freely to the flow.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Outlaw Poetry” May 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:






Treading Water


Treading Water



I hear hummingbird’s wings

figure-eight beneath my skin.

Too many bitten sandwiches, people

walking by, containing

their anguish.

The wordless hymn

is a waterfall, pouring

through the smoke: not a dry ocean,

but, rejoicing. But this mind

is like an axe, slaughtering my joy

with world-worn concerns.


Who craves the contradictory high? Do I?

Do I love for nothing but death and bramble?


To be blinded by ecstasy,

to hunt again for the colossal Self.


I walk through the dust-ridden morn.

The wind splits my shell like a labouring woman:

It enters. It expels. It knows




Copyright © 1995 by Allison Grayhurst




Published in “Synchronized Chaos” June 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below: