"Your train's pulling into the station; make sure it doesn't pass you by."
Life-changing catalysts come in various forms and seemingly make their presence known in the most unexpected of ways and at the least expected of times. In Walters' poetry compilation, his core purpose is to give readers the tools to recognize and respond to their untapped potential. Written over the past decade in honor and memory of his cousin and best friend, Orville James Delano Davis, the work acknowledges that it is not presenting anything avant-garde or revolutionary. On the contrary, it is packaging ideas in poetic form to give audiences an opportunity to understand self-discovery principles from a fresh vantage point.
Walters strips away all the fluff that one may get in denser works, providing a simplified way to process typically complex and arcane topics. The sheer determination to empower his readers is compelling. From the very first poem, “Success,” themes of staying true and committing to one’s purpose are firmly entrenched. In “The Eagle,” the pivotal theme of embracing one’s individuality is magnified through the imagery of an eagle soaring, forming his own identity, and being unafraid to call the skies his own. As the work progresses, the notion of service continues to be emphasized as the pathway to leading a most fulfilling life. Part of the differentiation, the poet suggests, that keeps individuals from reaching their maximum potential is a distinctive me-first attitude that creates self-absorbed individuals who see nothing but profit and benefit for themselves.
Whereas the poems retain their typical interpretive quality, Walters does provide insight on the origin of numerous poems, whether they came from his own experience, are directed at his friends, or simply provide commentary on his life observations, including, but not limited to one’s view of the celebrity as almost God-like. In reality, Walters asserts that each individual harbors that innate spirit and talent to achieve like a celebrity.
With respect to the style, the majority of poems are broken down into quatrains with varying rhyme schemes (e.g., ABAB). Undoubtedly, the focus isn’t on exquisite poetic technique but rather a form of expression that can forcefully take Walters’ thoughts and convey them with intensity and the power to create lasting change. For example, in poems like “Part of the Plan” and “You’re Closer than You Think,” the entire spectrum from falling short to finally achieving one’s goals and life’s milestones is captured. Using the imagery of light and the sun, Walters presents readers with hope for change, a chance to step into who one is meant to be. Be it through the metaphors of rockets launching, speeding trains, or planting seeds, life is a process of twists and turns, peaks and valleys, and in this compilation, Walters provides a roadmap to instill confidence in his audience, to give them the faith that their journey and their ordeals are not theirs alone. Ultimately, Walters’ poetry is a reminder to readers that resilience prevails and to break down even the darkest of days into little pockets of light. By taking just one extra step, they will see hope awaiting their arrival just around the corner.
- Mihir Shah, US Review of Books