David Bellusci opens his latest poetry collection, Age of Innocence (Wipf and Stock, 2020), with a poem that heralds the sensory delights to come. “Angelic Park” is the first of thirteen poems in the book’s initial section titled Book of Nature. Its dazzling imagery and metaphors paint a rich and enchanting scene.
Turquoise waves, emerald crystals, / shower us. / Like a magic wand—a spell— / that taps we fall, enchanted. / The horizon an orange ball opens, / eggs break, yoke and white / gently lick the night sky.
The poems that follow, “Mother’s Day in the Park,” “River Melody,” and “Granville Island Blues” evoke movement, nostalgia, and the convergence of people and nature. We accompany Bellusci through the landscape of the ordinary and extraordinary as he navigates memories in the perennial passage of the seasons. “Stellar Dance” and “Equine White” depict the symphony that is the cosmos: a pulsating and palpable rhythm that unites heaven and earth.
The book’s second section, Course in Metaphysics, begins with “Bee-ing,” where we are enveloped in the softness and fragrance of the bee dance. Bees instinctively engage in the search for nectar, which can be paralleled to the search for meaning in our lives.
The existential pondering unique to human beings is explored in this series of poems as Bellusci takes us on philosophical outings while still connected to earthly realities. “Aristotelian Morphology” examines the sensory and sacred spaces in life, the constructs of time and their limitations, and the efforts to penetrate the mysteries of existence.
blue skies disappear . . . deep purple / unknown abyss forever? / I stare and wonder / something exists, what? / captured by the self, / liberated by being / thinking creature absorbed.
With his evocative and vibrant descriptions, Bellusci invites us to contemplate and experience the bursts of colour in our world and to meditate and dream.
In “Autumn Lake” the end of the season has a melancholic air, yet is brightened as the… Sun pokes clouds / pours orange and red / on golden seagulls. And “Last Night” is filled with sensory impressions: wood splitting, fire crackling, stars and sparrows as… veiled light undresses the galaxy.
In the third section of the book, Cities and Fields, Bellusci gives us captured moments of people and places around the world – of Montreal, Cape Town, Bombay, Nagoya: from street people and winter slush and Victorian brick houses to the pastel paradise of the Caribbean islands, where.. I drink the morning like / mango juice. He takes in the wisteria vines of Arkansas, tastes… fried green beans, catfish on a / Friday, / and hushpuppies. In Mexico… Lush green screams in red soil, and… Along Namibian shores / pink pelicans dance.
In Bellusci’s penultimate section, Orange Portraits, he continues to share his global encounters and impressions with “Scent of Copenhagen,” “La Haïtienne,” “Sherbrooke Street,” and “Pigeon Lady,” among others.
Bellusci’s final selection of poems in CLINIC doors/recovery ventures into the realms of illness and loss, incertitude and healing, the vulnerability of the self, and the journeys of the soul. The book ends with “Ecstasy” and mentions of Chiron, a figure of Greek mythology, Nefertiti, Plato, “the woman of Foligno” (St. Angela, an Italian mystic). In this final contemplation of mortality and immortality, the poet concludes: In secret syllables I taste Eternity.
Bellusci’s background in philosophy and poetry is reflected in his references to Aristotle, Heraclitus, Heinrich v. Kleist, and David Hume. Age of Innocence is a beautiful and poignant reflection on the timeless rhythms of being, existing, searching, exploring, and living.
David C. Bellusci is the author of seven books including three books of poetry. His poetry has been published internationally. He lives in Vancouver, where he was born and where he teaches philosophy and theology.
Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli is the author of La Brigantessa (Inanna Publications, 2018), 2019 Gold IPPY Award Winner for Historical Fiction.