Simply but powerfully expressed, a visceral collection…
Gutteridge writes beautifully about adolescent sexuality, old memories, loneliness, and love in his latest, a collection of free verse poems. The first few poems, indicates Guttridge’s keen interest in literature and memorializing, echoed in “Chaucer,” “Wordsworth,” “Byron,” “Donne.” In “Beowulf,” he writes: “Nobody now remembers/ “Beowulf’s” bard, that/ Anglo-Saxon dreamer/ who hatched a poem heroic/ on parchment for posterity’s/ pleasure, and gave us Grendel/ and his Mam and Hrothgar’s/ harrowed hall in sturdy/ uniambic verse, lit with/ alliterative lustre and kindled/ by kennings to moisten the memory/ of the Teuton-tongued/ Troubadour,/ chanting in stanzas.” He ably constructs a flowing personal narrative through memories of his childhood and youth as well as love, loss, and grief. Pain of losing a loved one to death and longing prove a powerful motif throughout. In “Mystical,” “Collision, and” “Ah, Love,” Gutteridge recalls his wife Anne: “In one small, windowed/ room, with sunshine on the sill/ by day and moonglow/ blooming by night, we lay/ as lovers have lain ever.” In “Miraculous” and “Cat’s Meow,” the poems written in his grandson Tom’s memories, the images grow more painful, “and what I didn’t know/ then was that such miraculous/ moments would keep me enthralled/ for thirty-five years,/ until Death robbed us both:/ you of breath and me/ of miracles.” However, there is plentiful lightheartedness across the collection, too, most of it derived from memories of childhood and adolescence (“Unaltered”), while the poems such as “Nightmare,” “Glories,” “Two for Marybelle” delve into the lusts and passions of boyhood. These elegant, tender poems offer insight into love, recollections, and a life well-lived and enjoyed, while giving the reader plenty of depth and beauty to carry into their minds. With superbly crafted poems that engage the past, Gutteridge delivers another soulful collection that will stay on readers’ minds long after they turn the last page.
The Home We Never Leave
By Don Gutteridge