By Allison Grayhurst
World away of hollows where light escapes, gets through, flourishes in the sluggish dream of humans. World of many layers – up to pure communion and down with the languishing un-animal beasts. Rivers that flow and merge, travel down. Oceans rise up, their surfaces new, surfaces discovered – air, sometimes just air, other times, divine space where eyes can come close in, examine the stars. World away of purple and gold, merging lava with its harmony above. Thorns that wake the many sleepers, places where forgiveness is the only escape. Stones are mirrors, their surfaces blurred, their boundaries unmasked and glorious flowers are eternal. World away where the faith in money is a mouse-trap, catching souls, keeping them there, broken and anguishing. World above of pure worship and simple communion - smells move like lust, desires amplified, approved, like electric current-catalysts for standard-accepted-forms of fulfilment. Colours of elms and of eagles, everything less thick and less challenging. Heads up, love the obvious go-to solution. World away of patchwork tunnels, going down, going up, a journey matched in the imagination – many dimensions, many limitations added or lifted. Moon half. Moon whole. World away where walking forward with truth at the helm is the maker of glory, a living lucky charm.
A snail is a slug with a shell, is like a hand with only one thing to claim, was like my thoughts that leapt out of a stream, fell on land and could not get back. Old life like a spider caught in quicksand, gone into the murky underground. Worry was a cavity, a reservoir endlessly re-filled, scooping up a cup, resolving a problem, as old problems grew larger to fill the space or infant ones formed. Leaving the dramatic spinning wheel, mending the wounds of sacrifice. How long before the thirst to satiate is satiated, then becomes thirst again, greater than the first longing? Why is there heat everyday and never rain? Is time just the planets rotating like spherical untouchable gods, or is it nonsense, divisions made for small minds to draw imaginary pathways through stark oblivion? When I learned Jesus walked with his arms open, his hands empty, feeding, being fed, then I arrived in God’s grace as though I had always been there. My past was relinquished, incorporated like a candle flame into a larger fire, into the greatest summit.
When you bleed do you bleed in the summer, early morning, on wet grass? Or just because the door is open, do you close it and walk up a steep hill? When you are walled in, is it prejudice or wisdom, packing you tight, with no left-over spaces to stretch? Each day comes like a sword, living is charged with complexities that must be cut through - amputated calcifications to reach the fleshy core. I thought we could sail straight through the waters but you, lover of chaos, called in the mad waves and rode them gleefully to any shore. I can only catch up, follow and accept your choices. I can only ask myself – what fresh boundary must I break through? What deep-set morality must I re-think? For love, for you, to keep us true, connected.
Blue I wondered blue in summer in the mornings, caught in the snail-size tales of futility and inevitable floods. Crooked boundaries, solid as vapour, stung, trapped my fears far from knowing the mercy of self-forgiveness. I carried my purse like a stone, collected empty wrappers, useless pens and expired medicine, burning always from head to foot, impatient for change, running into the concrete walls of my collected fate. Today, I look at the bloom of yellow flowers, full in their last burst of joy before the frost, and I am learning to drop that stone, accept what lives and what cannot. My bitterness has lost its vein to travel through, forms and then corrodes. Let others count their dollars and covet extravagant houses. I love my home like a trusted friend and my garden is a portal into heaven where the robin drinks and the mange-bitten squirrel has made her home, digging, storing nuts. Throats are cleared. God’s giant voice has won my full attention. Switch me off. I am ready to swim far into the ocean, fast until my lungs burn, desperate for air. There I will stop (the shoreline visible, but barely). There I will wait for an answer, recover my breath and decide - further out or back home.
When courage is smoke, and it takes far too much effort to build a mound to stop the flood, when fears and the bleeding winds of reality destroy the indestructible diamond, turn it into dust particles, lapped up by the tongue of unsuspecting animals, and the storm, it digs a wound like a valley, red and brutal, when that happens, it is time to sleep, dream of better days, watch TV, read and listen to other people’s stories, bury your battle-slain heart under the covers and wait for meaning. Meaning when found will restore courage, sooth the raw chasm, give faith in the setting sun and maybe even press up against you, thundering, a glorious beauty.
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 1260 poems published in over 500 international journals. She has 21 published books of poetry, six collections and six chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; http://www.allisongrayhurst.com