The River

 

 

Toads and kestrels shape

the river’s being.

Being what? But song

and bird’s breath

and even lovers who need

her current, her living fury

that communes equally with the sun and moon.

 

Seedlings and butterflies,

the river engulfs all in her rushing blood.

Death reflects beautifully in her

foaming shine. And the devil’s rage

the salmon’s struggle the child’s tossed-in penny

shapes her surly figure, is wine to her thirsty veins.

 

Branches and stones

vanish in her womb where never

the light has crept. Snails ride

her flesh to shore.

 

And though she is tired, she never rests,

desperate to embrace the sea, to ride

his undulating loins, and be bonded forever

to his salty grandeur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bulb Flower

 

 

The far and withered bulb flower

I planted when I was a child,

long ago shaken by years of wind

and rotted to its core –

now that I has all by disappeared

even as a crust upon the Earth,

has it found shape again in something living,

or backtracked to the volcano heart

of a mythical land?

 

Does it sigh for the sun or cry

when it hears a frog’s slow croak?

Does it do as I do now, watch

rain fall on stones, or is it part of a low-creepy thing

that lacks shadow and intent.

 

Does it sleep in the moss or

is it clay for a sculptor’s hungry hands?

Does it float through the seas as a jellyfish

or hop the meadows wild?

 

The far and withered blub flower

I planted when I was a child,

maybe today I saw it again

in the squirrel crossing the street

or maybe in that great tomato that was

my lunch, it returned

to now nourish my grown-up bones.

 

 

 

 

 

But if I Look

 

 

If I keep thinking

how my hopes can flourish

in these seemingly luckless years,

soon I will be mad

with fear and futility.

 

     But if I look at the branches of trees

stretching upward, individual as any

ancient god, and look and feel

their surety, complexity and peace . . .

     If I strive to learn one thing from their

underappreciated presence, then awakened

I would be like a mustard seed

touched by sunlight.

 

 

 

 

 

Gathering Joy for the Eye of God

 

 

For the lions and toads

in salvation’s nakedness

gather joy for the eye of God

 

For the squirrels that leap and the thrushes

that fly into clouds and the morning sky

like a pink sea, capturing the delight

of every waking child

 

For the infant who cut his toe

and the pregnant woman dancing stripped of clothes

For the cat watching out the window

and the stallion and mare in mating fury

For grass returning after being crushed by snow

and music seeping from a woman’s middle-aged throat

 

For the one-winged hawk and the blind opossum.

For the architect’s dream and the writer’s

unwritten vision

For the loneliness inherent in us all

and the longing and the ways for fulfilment

 

For the graveyards in the fall and the elephants drunk

on African leaves, for those who hear the insects’ cheep

and for those who burn, blind, undefined

and raging

 

For the television screen enjoyed by two

and the worm rescued from a torrential rain

 

For those who love and those who choose

to forgive though every nerve commands

their heart to harden and yield to hate

 

gather joy for the eye of God.

 

 

bio: Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Five times nominated for “Best of the Net”, 2015/2017/2018, she has over 1200 poems published in over 475 international journals and anthologies. She has 21 published books of poetry, six collections and six chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com

            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. “River – Songs from the poetry of Allison Grayhurst” released October 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; 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; The Toronto Quarterly; Existere; Fogged Clarity, Boston Poetry Magazine; Decanto; White Wall Review.

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