Don Gutteridge – That day

Gutteridge LE P&W 6 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Six Nov-Dec 2023.

That Day, poems by Don Gutterridge.

That day

May 8, 1945

At mid-morning on that day,
we were released from school and scrutiny
to carry the good news
abroad, and I recall ‘flying’
home on my post-rheumatic
toes, ululating “The war
is over!” while our fire siren
wailed its welcome and car
horns honked volumes
and church bells clanged
with more elan than the opening
salvo at Armageddon,
and ordinary folks, like churchless
urchins, took to the streets,
where perfect strangers hugged
hugely and girls, pretty
or not, were lip-kissed,
as if it were New Year’s Eve
in Kingdom Come, and I knew
that something momentous (other
than death and taxes) had happened
to the world, that the Earth had moved
another intimate inch
on its axis.

God’s toddler

For Tom in fond memory

Even as a toddler, your smile
could melt a misanthrope’s
hardened heart, and your blue
eyes unbuttoned the woe-
begotten world and made it
bend to Beauty and the Good,
for there was ever something
inside you that chose kindness
whenever it could and love
when nothing else would do,
and I wanted so much for you
to pass the genius in your genes
along to the generations yet
to come, where they would strut
their stuff, seethe sweetly
and induce a dozen cousin
toddlers with God’s button-
blue gaze.

Just because

With a nod to e.e.

O the girls of the Point!
in their frilly frocks, looking
like fence-flung hollyhocks
in fulsome bloom, dancing
in dithyrambic dither
in their black patents, just
because it was Just-Spring
and the world was puddle-
wonderful, and no balloon
Man whistled to the tune
that went “whee” in the loins
and settled happily there,
making worm-woo
to the apple of its eye.

© Don Gutteridge

Don Gutteridge was born in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada and raised in the nearby village of Point Edward. He taught High School English for seven years, later becoming a Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario, where he is now Professor Emeritus. He is the author of more than seventy books, poetry, fiction and scholarly works in pedagogical theory and practice. He has published more than twenty novels including the twelve-volume Marc Edwards mystery series, and forty-four books of poetry, one of which, Coppermine, was short-listed for the 1973 Governor-General’s Literary Award. In 1970 he won the UWO President’s medal for the best poem of that year, “Death at Quebec”. Don currently lives in London, Ontario.

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