A veteran of the energy industry tries his hand at poetry in this debut collection.
Dickie has spent much of his professional life in the petroleum and gas business in Scotland. His job, as he says in one poem here, often asked him “to travel where the oil was,” so he spent much of his time on the road, searching the world for new sources of fuel. So what a surprise it must have been one morning, as he writes in “Introduction,” to “wake up, rise from bed / To have all these poems / Flying around / Inside your head.” The oilman had struck words, and what flowed forth was a torrent of verse; much of it, as Dickie himself notes, was about love. There’s love lost: “Sitting alone, late one night / My thoughts began to wander / Thinking of a loved one / Who used to hold me closer.” And then there’s a more spiritual love: “For I seek the truth eternal / The everlasting love / Before the universe existed / And long after it is gone.” Of course, Dickie’s work isn’t all hearts and roses; another standout theme is world travel, surely inspired by his own professional wanderings: “Campeche in Mexico / The Gulf for oil and gas / The stunning river dolphins / Splashing around en masse / Beautiful Malaysia / The forests of Borneo / A jewel set in the South China Sea / The mountain of Kinabalu.” Few writers can draw on such a breadth of experience, and Dickie’s worldliness is surely one of his strengths. There are times in this collection, however, when the author’s inexperience as a poet becomes apparent; for example, one piece, “To Have Loved and Lost,” opens with the following lines: “Sitting here, thinking of you / Feeling lonely and a little sad / Even though I am not quite alone / I truly feel inside quite bad.” “Sad”/“bad” is a grade school rhyme, and “truly feel inside” is redundant; a seasoned poet would likely have found a more original, economical way to evoke the anguish of a lost romance. But perhaps the aforementioned gusher of words is still flowing, and Dickie will have a chance to refine them further.
An oilman explains the world in rhyme with surprising, often quite pleasing, results.