Gutteridge delves into the pain and heartbreak of mourning in his strikingly intimate latest, a series of elegiac poems remembering, memorializing, and celebrating his grandson Tom’s life who died tragically at age 35. “Tom” highlights the empty space and the immense pain that refuses to go away after the young man’s death: “There is no bottom to my grief,/ your passing has left me/ with half a heart, I cannot/ bear to think of the pain/ That must have pierced you at the end.” With crystal clear poise and narrative cohesion, Gutteridge delves into pleasant memories, bonds of love, grief, and a wishful longing: “O Tom! I want to take you/ by the hand and walk you into/ the milkweed meadow a stone’s/ throw from Grandfather’s yard,/ where puckered pods secrete/their sun-drenched seed.” The collection not only does honor to Tom’s memory, it also catalogues people’s immense grief and their almost unnerving sense of vulnerability that comes with losing one’s loved one to tragic circumstances. Combining heartbreaking vulnerability and clarity of language, Gutteridge offers a moving portrait of grief and mourning. Anyone who has lost a loved one will be able to connect. If there is beauty in anguish, one may find it here.
SOMEWHERE YOU ARE IMMORTAL: An Elegy for Tom
By Don Gutteridge