(Photo of Allison Grayhurst)

 

before

 

This child will come

like the spinning of a maypole -

strong colours entwined

and all her blood in unison

with the sun.

She will be a glorious bird,

sure of her place on this earth,

sure of the love that moves from

each breathing lung to the unseen stars,

tied to it all like water is to the shore,

like a night breeze coming to soothe

the summer day's scorch.

She will be set free by her heart's

irregular beat, unique in her beauty and

in her strength.

This child will come, welcomed

like a prayed-for dream.

We will hold her and know her -

our highest visions united then separated

into an infant being.

 

 

 

The Gentle Seed

 

            The gentle seed

has changed face and made

its being heard.

Thickened veins, oversized

breasts and hands that no longer sing

are reflections of the pulsing heart

of one who has not learned

the ways of the human cry.

No voice but the kick and turn, but

a destiny yet to begin.

 

            The gentle seed

that has grown within me

is like candy on the tongue,

like fruit to the green insects and

spring to the marigold, is a no-turning-back

and a waiting-to-behold.

 

            The gentle seed

that will forever be part of my own,

has turned death on its side,

showing me peace in the remains

of my burnt garden.

 

 

 

Of Fears and Thankfulness

 

Lines of dreams.

Inside the dream

I hold us close

though fear the passing

of our smiles.

Soon it will be like yesterday

never was, like all our

waiting and despair will be only

a mild memory left behind.

Soon you will be proud of your life

and know the taste of mercy in all

its natural splendour.

And I myself, with child, with you,

want us only to remain as close as

these nine years have brought us,

blending as a black cat with the darkness.

And though we both have lost irreplaceable loves,

both have felt the thunderbolt of death, on our knees,

beneath God's greatness, there will be only sunshine

for a while, a coming out with sorrow in one hand

and beautiful faith in the other. I see the plan:

 

We will welcome in

the good change and move into the future

like two inseparable fireflies, each dependent

on the other's flickering light.

 

 

 

In The Fire

 

With blood I cried,

I cried for you,

for this knocking on my ribs

and for a loss like the formless

angels would know.

I cried with panting breath

and wanted this and all life to go

into the picture frame, away

from the 'very real.'

I held my knees and felt the humid

air encase me like a crushing prong.

You moved in violent spin,

making your presence known.

I felt my inadequacies and my ugliness

like cold metal pressed against my throat.

I reached hysteria, then came out into the calm,

seeing my lover's eyes in the small space

between my fears. He took my hand and

I could breathe again. I could feel you were eased

and I heard a gentle whispering, saying

together as a family we three will live and grow.

 

 

 

Eight Months

 

This grief stalled in my throat

rises in small amounts

like a split seed moving from

earth to air.

I remember a warm protection

that I will never again know,

or see the fireworks of his grounded mind

fill the atmosphere with so much colour.

Time is like the moon in summer,

not so real when seen beside the day's strong sun.

But in winter, the moon is explanation -

is the weaving thread of barren understanding.

I think he must be near, after all

the wound still flows. Today eight months

have gone, and all my old hopes are altered

though renewed. I have nothing to give him,

no telephone declaration can I make in the passion

of true gratitude, or say why? to his passing shadow.

There is only this I am left with -

this sting of still raw shock, and all the memories

my love can hold.

 

 

 

Pregnant

 

The ringing bells,

the stone on high

that falls like a swan

with broken wings

are things that hound me

with a chill and send my peace reeling.

I wait for you under the arches -

May, June, July until November.

I am a silk sheet changing to a

woolly blanket - breasts and tummy large

like mother-icon, and the end is

a far way off. To meet your tiny eyes

is what contains me beyond the fear

of crazy labour and the pure moon

that swallowed my name. This is earth

finally, complete with no open edges.

Like another country's familiar animal are my

swollen ankles and weighted walk.

Sometimes I am bewitched by this declaration

of my mortal being and sometimes, trapped

in the change like a cat behind closed windows.

Will I be good to you, little one? Will it be

natural, our song and our rain? You come

without earned ugliness, wriggling inside.

We breathe as one, though still

to each other's heart and form we remain

as strangers.

 

 

 

If We Are So Lucky

 

If we are so lucky to know your face,

to touch your newly made skin,

to read to you in the mornings

and go walking in the afternoon . . .

If we can be complete under November winds,

maybe the hole my father's death

left within will heal, enough

so the sun won't pass me over.

In the hope of you and your perfect

dependency, we make meals at the counter,

lye together on the coach, touched by

vague expectation and awe. We are here

together at the throne of mystery.

Here, as my body stretches to welcome you.

If we are so blessed to smile into your eyes,

to hold you after midnight, then my father's voice

I could hear in waking wonder

as he says - be happy and carry on.

 

 

 

Anniversary

 

Thick and frantic rapids

moved us to believe

that the natural law is sensual.

We walked to islands of

greeny coverage, placed our

hands together and eyed the

circling hawk.

We watched the rocks

with their majestic edges and strange white

colours as the water cupped them in its

thin transparent palms, promising to awaken

a memory of primal wonder.

The gulls speckled the cliffs as the

red-winged bird remembered its song.

We stood and stared at the heavy

waters falling, and in its thunderous

movement, we joined - contained

by our true love.

 

 

 

A Month Before Birth

 

Prepared to swing the branches,

steady like in days of another year,

when time was mine to pull apart,

to drive depression from my sphere.

But bluish grey is all I see through

these pregnant eyes. I see a change I cannot

cope with, and separation between those I love.

I see my dead father in every footstep and

wish to fade like the autumn leaves

into colours of gold and fire before I become

the earth's seasonal meat, before I am

further gone down the road of inevitable fate

where I lose over and over the letters of my name,

where my core is chipped and isolation

is my sole companion.

I don't see how the clock can turn or how I

can be stronger yet against this undertow.

But I bend and bend, and have not

broken, and soon

a child will come.

 

 

 

Autumn

 

Throw in the towel.

Throw in the left side of your brain.

Remember now to speak against

the polliwogs infiltrating your dreams.

A dozen ships have sunk under the banner

of righteous revenge. Still, people

are talking about the end, as if

such a thing was predictable.

The end will come but not with wings of fire

or because of the clocking of the millennium.

Children are new. Antelopes are running

unharvested fields. Death has no beauty, though

some will tell you different, some who have never

touched lips with Death or felt Its cold, eternal hold.

There are patterns in the fallen leaves that none but

the birds can know. Wait now for winter, for something

immaculate to cover up, then to renew, the old.

 

 

 

We Walk Again

 

            We walk again, becoming

the watery breath of lovers

touched by the same vision.

            We feed our skins again

on the shifting flame

that burns all natural affliction.

            We kiss again on home ground,

and do the things of togetherness,

full of letters and sighs and the bones

of our ancestry.

            We stand under the umbrella,

nearing the darkness but staying alive.

            We release all secrets

drenched in the soft light

of a fluid and tender joy.

 

© Allison Grayhurst

 

Bio: Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three of her poems have been nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, and she has over 880 poems published in more than 390 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published twelve other books of poetry and seven 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. More recently, 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). She is a vegan. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com