A Window to the Soul

William Dickie

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 158 Price: (paperback) $24.19 ISBN: 9781503509306 Reviewed: April, 2016 Author Website: Visit »

In an introductory note to his poetry collection, William Dickie writes that the “one true thread” uniting his work is love. “Whether it is a poem on divine love or human love, love for pets or love for the environment that you find yourself in, all the poems are connected with this in mind.” What follows are 74 poems written in predominantly rhyming quatrains and arranged into three sections: “Poems,” “Poems for My Family,” and “Poems for My Friends.”

Dickie’s poems touch on myriad subjects, from the “monster” of jealously to rescuing a puppy to a rough boat ride taken to see “my love again.” They impart a gentle tone that is often soothing, even when expressing difficult times and emotions.

Contrary to more accomplished poetry, however, they state explicitly rather than illustrate majestically the sentiments they seek to express. The language in “My One True Love,” for instance, is general and abstract: “For my heart is full of love for thee/ It does not matter what you feel for me…” Images employed tend to be overly familiar rather than original: “When walking among the flowers/ A rose garden in your heart/ The petals are soft as silk/ The thorns can cut you sharp.”

In pieces addressed to family and friends, Dickie’s characterizations read more as tropes of idealized people than depictions of complex, unique individuals, as in “My Forever Loving Son”: “His life is young, but I can see/ That he will endure/ His heart is big, his smile a joy/ Life will give him more.” Similarly, people and places referenced throughout lack particularizing details that distinguish them from one another and engage readers’ senses and imaginations.

Dickie’s sentiments are clearly heartfelt and may appeal to those who appreciate light verse and can overlook stylistic issues (often the syntax is convoluted and the rhymes can feel forced). Those who appreciate more sophisticated fare, however, would do best to look elsewhere.

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