Just Beyond The Hill
by Diane E. Dockum

"Breath comes in shallow
spoons, not quite filling my mouth
not quite tasting life."

Utilizing a repertoire of poetic devices, Dockum delivers a compilation filled with such an intimate level of detail that one might conjecture the entire scene was unfolding under a microscope. Memorable examples include a glimpse into a crow’s mind as it contemplates entering traffic for a glistening banana peel to the sensuality portrayed in “Like Chocolate” as the speaker imagines unraveling layer after layer of love. One of the most intriguing elements is the poet’s ability to slow time down and let the reader experience a moment as it unfolds. In poems like the “Anchored Heart,” for example, the personification of sunlight dancing on dappled water, leaving the flow of time undisturbed, is a visceral image that is brilliantly juxtaposed in poems like “For the Wind” where the intensity of love expressed through the vigorous rush of wind envelopes the body and soul.

Dockum’s command of poetry is evident in her mastery of the haiku, where scintillating images of daffodils and lilacs are placed in conjunction with an abandoned flower garden. Moreover, in “The Last Time I Saw Him,” the poet enhances the force of each subsequent quatrain by repeating the namesake line. Each of her poems, through sensory detail and figurative language, is an expression of experiencing life, an expression of breathing. Arguably the most compelling poem is “If I watch,” a gem on the art of observation, taking a moment to experience life as time ages before our eyes. Readers are transported to panoramic shots of nature as it makes its way through the day, from the sun as it will “retreat over the hill” and the moon as it will “sail across the sky.” Dockum’s poetry is infused with vibrant energy, expressing through words what it means to be alive.

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