Ration out the unified soul,
make it many instead of one.
See the breakdown of what is holy,
split into particles
Trust in the brute because he has
no self-doubt, no self-examination,
Because it is easy to sacrifice
autonomy for certainty
and slice the swan’s wing
for monetary gain.
Before the circle became a line, some
nutshells still held their core - arguments were
for the sake of reflection and deeper knowledge.
When the circle became a line, tyrants were given
free-reign - the mutual exchange
between fear-and-getting replaced morality.
The ones of lights passed away
passed over their passion, replacing
faith with conspiracy theories.
Describe this gift of life.
What does it mean to you?
There are many waves,
equality within the hierarchy
value in no-control.
Death is automatic
an open door.
On the table, the whole of humanity
burning with fear, this onslaught
of harm, but love is not the victim.
All who have a soul within them, end up
rising up to meet the challenge of justice
The few who died long before their death
are now indisputably barren
and frighteningly corrupt.
Acts of mercy, acts of grace –
all of us deciding
which side we believe in.
All of us are now citizens, heroes of our charge,
children of the divine, effective, more
than helpless, feeding off God’s mercy, day to day
hour upon hour - held hostage to our inner world,
stripped of superficiality and distraction,
called to claim the slaughter we are accomplices to -
to choose the resting-nest of gratitude.
We are all asked to perform doubtless music,
formulate our morals and digest them
like a cure we have no choice but
to adhere to
for the horseman is at our tails and his shadow
is hard upon our shoulders.
Strength has changed
appearance, ends with a mask,
begins with food of only a humane source.
In the late winter I built my nest,
made a cradle from branches and waited.
Now that spring is over and no offspring came,
I consider this cozy island a curse,
feel the heat approaching and have no joy to give.
Upstream, blood soaked in debt and weapons
I cannot wield, weapons
on the floor, by my feet, too heavy to lift.
I embrace the dread like I once did grief – inhabiting
my days with failed effort, trying to dull transgressions,
manage my Sisyphus rock
– push for the prize that never comes – push,
believing it will, knowing it won’t.
My barren longing, unremarkable, repetitive.
I would change my name, my shape, if it would help,
grow plumage where there is none, but my energy is crushed
with clinging, and the freedom that lords before me
like an oasis is only finished fiction,
a book of great magnitude, but
foiled of substance and lasting nourishment.
By the whirling heap of fate
a new being is born – one that
watches, moves and holds.
One that stands without future plans
or regrets but takes two days to make
a decision and then sticks with it, in spite of
Blood on the knees, covering the unborn joy
that does not know if it can withstand the first breath,
but still kicks its way out of the womb.
There is nothing easy here on this planet,
its sharp beauty cuts and bends everything living
to the cruel unpredictable violence of survival.
Collapse, famine, or warm nest out of the rain –
the same parallel process of dying and becoming.
Standing noble when in weakness,
or succumbing to slavery
is the only vantage point choice.
Touch your eyes,
touch an outburst of sorrow,
touch beautiful geography underfoot.
Faith is a house, takes you in
to live sometimes as part of the furniture,
sometimes as a carpenter,
making furniture, sweeping,
making more furniture.
Mercy without Miracles and
Miracles without Mercy
A day 2,500 years ago
and life was the same, struggling
to understand God and fate
and how the stars may hold
prediction but lack all means
of mercy. For mercy
was an evening without power, was weak
as was seen
the majesty of forgiveness.
It was before Jesus came as sibling, as friend,
revealing the depths of God’s grace, the redemption
in surrender and late evening devotion, breathing
with the direction of the wind, open to hardships
as to miracles, orchestrated by a loving hand.
First God was many in our minds,
segregated, dissected, tangled with human
hypocrisies, pride and jealousies.
Then God was one in our minds,
higher, mightier than death, closer still,
let us hold God in our arms, be held like
a tiny flower head is held by a child’s hand,
cupped, yellow buttercup, glowing,
treasured by God, each of us,
a necessary and loved creation.
Back then, even great minds glimpsed
such profound greenery,
but could not complete the joy.
humanity’s completion with God,
connection, void of complications,
like an infant’s first smile or that infant,
holding out her arms,
Taking off my water wings
maybe in a year or two,
maybe in ten
I will front crawl
fast to the edge, go under, somersault,
push off and speed,
or climb the high diving board,
up the steep metal steps, gripping
tightly, half-way there to the edge, three quarters then
race and leap, arms outstretched, thumbs locked and
going down, hitting the water fast, gliding across
the whole of the deep end.
Letting go of spiritual infancy, primitive
magic-tricks that sometimes worked,
most of the time, didn’t,
to soothe my anxiety, needing
the evidence of God, instead
of trusting faithfully, fully
- water wings off, front-crawl free.
Wind – Marrow – Bone
Death comes softly
like a small wave or
a blanket, lessening
the stroke. Slowly
the energy leaves and also
the will power to not let it go.
Death is gentle as a spider’s steps
or like the innate laws of decency
methodically, incrementally, ignored.
Death, I rejoice in you, as I didn’t know
how easy your touch was or how
pain and weakness arrive like your welcome mat.
Unless you arrive violent, but then, that too,
because it is quick, is merciful.
Bravery on the altar where you are worshipped
where you demand every part of a soul unseen to be seen,
equal parts of cowardice and courage, the darkening whine
and the warrior who makes it up the stairs
when the body’s strength is but a secret, barely
audible, straining to be heard.
Death you are tender,
you ready us for the quiet nod - yes
or the scream that ripples across the ocean - yes!
You make sure to narrow us completely
so you are the only way out, and we want out,
we want you – like a lover - Death,
lover of the drowned, the burned,
the cancer ward occupants, the accident fallen
and illness that compresses the lungs,
topples over the perching bird.
In the end, we all want you,
jealous lover of the living,
you take us all
either with a breaking virility or
smother us in a maternal fold.
I have come close to you
and I learned
you are made of love,
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; www.allisongrayhurst.com