With his penchant for the stuff of daily living, Dublin native Dawe reveals to us an inviting world of little things with big ramifications. The players here start out in such unlikely places as a hotel pool or church bell tower and end up caught in existential moments that ring with a sweep of Whitmanesque simplicity: “Are you still there? / Is the sun still out?” In each of these poems the questions run deep, but the images glide across the page with breathtaking ease. Dawe is both master of the visual and equipped with a finely tuned ear. The final piece here is a careful meditation on the way humans try to order their lives, and it concludes with a resonant catalogue of incidental yet vital links to the world: “the microwave’s skinny digits, / the mobile phone on its life-line, / the alarm panel keyed in, the cat’s eye / dashboard of the answering machine / and whoever’s voice is leaving word.” This unusual attention to the ordinary brings the author to what some might find a rather hyperactive scrutiny of reality. But unlike poets who lead readers down the beaten path only to give them a nasty shove into a metaphysical abyss, Dawe offers esoteric ponderings more readily accessible and convincingly grounded.
Extraordinarily plain yet supple verse, worthy of both the morning commute and more than one evening’s reflection.