A collection of stunning breadth and intimacy…
A wide-eyed awareness runs throughout, uplifting life’s everyday moments into something weighty and transcendent in the introspective latest from Gutteridge. In “SYMPHONIC,” Gutteridge trains his eye on the retreating shoreline of a life: “I sit at ease in my rocker,/ 84 years young, SYM/ still able to breathe/ in my old bones, listening/ to Peter, Paul and Mary/ sing the songs of the long-/ago Sixties.” The poems are varied in their subjects, exploring old memories, small moments of joy life offer on a daily basis, boyhood lust and passion, friendships and family bonds, grief, longing, love among others: “The aging poet does not/ pose behind a podium/ to project some bardic bravado,/ he is seated, rather, in his walker,/ awkwardly, as if he can feel/ his bones brooding in their sockets,/ and, wincing at “prince,” Gutteridge writes. In “CHALK AND CHEESE,” the death of a bully’s father gives the young Gutteridge a new perspective about luck. In the elegant and reflective, “THE TUG OF TOUCH,” written in the memory of his deceased grandson Tom, Gutteridge uses form to capture the transitory nature of life. The mischievous and arresting “RIBALD” is an ode to boyhood lust and friendships. “ENUNCIATION” and “Jig” reflect on the simplicity of long-gone yesterday. Written in memoriam for the six-year-old Effie Free, “BLITHE SPIRIT” delves into the little girl’s vigor and liveliness. Gutteridge draws on his memories of old times as he braids past and present in “REMEMBERING WHEN” and ONE MORE TIME.” Over the course of the collection, Gutteridge moves from his childhood in Point Edward to his present days, reflecting on both the happiness and pain life offers. Old friends, acquaintances, siblings, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, all of them make an appearance. A reflection on life, death, and memories that is at once intimate and sweeping.
A FINE-TUNED HEART