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Tuesday
Oct022018

"Knows No End" by Dustin Pickering. Reviewed by Casey Dorman

Knows No End

Dustin Pickering

Kolkata: Hawakal Publishers, 2018

 

Dustin Pickering’s Knows No End is a long poem, focused upon the death of Hyancinthus, in the arms of Apollo, struck by a discus—a fixture of Greek mythology. At the same time, it is an homage to the dedication of the female painter trying touch the essence of life’s meaning in the natural object of beauty—the hyacinth flower. I found the poem profound and moving. Immediately, the poet projects himself into the artistic consciousness of the painter, confronted with nature and seeking to both find meaning and convey that meaning in her re-creation of what she sees and intuits. The poem cycles through the four seasons, from hope to disillusionment, and finally through surrender and giving of oneself to the creation, to hope again. It can be read at many levels, but for me, it seemed a personal account of the quest for meaning in nature, in the world, in the beauty one sees but may not be able to reach, and in the need for love and to love.

The words are marvelous. In the First Moments:

 The wind is a mild friend

visiting in my doubting hours.

 Then approaching the object in Summer

 I may have offended your repose

but I promise friendship

 In Fall, after failure, her inspiration allows the painter to try again to reach the essence of the beauty she loves:

                                   Yet it doesn’t reach deep enough

and I find that what it says

is only part of what is really said.

How do I pull the essence from this romance?

 

The flower shyly closes its eyes.

seeming to know what I seek,

the Hyacinth protects its interior

but playfully suggests answers.

Finally, the painter asks,

If I become what I admire,

will I know it fully?

In Winter, the painter’s task is to bring the beauty back alive:

As I paint, I am reminded

 

of the reason I began my art.

capturing essence in the fleeting, 

chaotic  existence enclosed within time

is an impossible and dissatisfying task.

 And in Spring, the reality that love is projection is faced and overcome by a higher truth:

Is love too an illusion? Is my heartbeat

merely sensation, something external

to my own existence?

Fortitude teaches me

 

That intense pain and doubt are chained

As prisoners in the dark.

I surrender the unique work created

by my hands to You.

Knows No End is a creative poetic achievement of substantial magnitude. It reaches the depth of the reader’s experience while telling a story of another’s experience, another time, another place. The intense longing, the doubt, the joy and inspiration and, finally, the movement toward greater meaning are all there and the reader is pulled along within the poet’s world, but always touching on what is familiar in each of us. I was frankly, overwhelmed, and I hope this book reaches a wide audience. It is certainly worth reading.

Knows No End is available on Amazon here

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