Click Here For Free Blog Backgrounds!!!
Blogaholic Designs

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Every Soldier Needs A Soul: Poems of a Soldier 3

"Every Soldier Needs A Soul: Poems of a Soldier 3" by David McDonald is a remarkable collection of war poetry. It's the last in a trilogy by this poet, who began writing poetry as part of the treatment for his combat related post-traumatic stress disorder following his many years of service in the armed forces. It marks a return home of the soldier. We tend to associate war poetry only with the World Wars and long-dead poets such as Wilfred Owen, but it is still an active genre today as, unfortunately, we're still fighting wars. "Is this what is man's achievement ...?" asks the poet in 'An Ending', and he goes on to say 'Can we not find better use, find peace ..."? If only we could. Soldier-poets like David McDonald remind us in the powerful, concentrated language necessary for poems of the horrible suffering that wars inflict, both mentally and physically on victor and vanquished alike.
There are poems in this book about the supporting women at home, the brave child at her father's funeral, burying a brother, an old soldier ending up on the streets, flashbacks and unseen injuries, to give a very few examples. These poems range widely in style and content, from anger to love, from the fanciful to the downright gritty, from the horrific to the charming and witty. My own favourite is "An Angel is Waiting for You" in which the poet describes how an angel will look after a soldier who has died in action "with gentle care".
You have to read McDonald's poems. They're modern, heartfelt, imaginative, entertaining and skilful. You'll understand that "a soldier is not different to you", just someone doing a job where he is trained "to do the worst that a man can". It's a tough lesson but so beautifully taught by this poet.

Tell My Rose

Don’t let my Rose hear of how I died, lying alone on this cold hill
Tell her that I died surrounded by friends, quietly and peaceful and still
Don’t tell her off the human horrors surrounding me where I lie
Speak gently when you say to her I spoke her name and gently cried

No mention of the bullets that tore at me or the shrapnel in my spine
Just the hushed mention of a death that was painless, mercifully short on time
Spare the thought of the blood I have lost no mention of the leg that’s not there
Speak with kindness and clarity tell of a kind nurse who stroked my hair

I want my Rose to remember the man she loved without restrain
She should always have the memories of me passing away without pain
Then I can face what painful death my God has set aside for me
I can wait until I die and then watch my Rose from above where I’ll be

A Heart Without Words

I read poetry with a passion and that can sometimes be difficult with what is on the market in current times, too many repetitive themes and styles with little in the way of real passion.

This Poet however is not in that league and finding his book and reading it was an emotional experience on a level I have scarcely endured, David McDonald writes from experience and opens his heart indeed his very soul. The poem “GOODBYE” pulled at every sinew of the heart leaving me bleeding the tears of regret for the words, “SPRING” on the other hand was a joyous discovery of a new beginning.

War Poetry is not easy to read but GOOD War Poetry is a privilege, when written by someone who has served and lost friends it is an honour to see his words so beautifully, sometimes painfully, written for the reader.

A full 5 stars and thank you for the book, I look forward to reading your others.

Debris of battle

Black waves crashing onto the beach, a moon shivers in the cold
The sea sends wave sighing, this a sight that has grown so old
Lapping on the sands in anger, the moon bright and sad at the scene
An ocean of rage surging onwards, how often has this horror been?

Salt water laps at the bodies, so many lay still only moved by the waves
Almost you think the waves move them, an effort for lives they may save
The debris of battle seen then gone, waves wash over and recede in disgust
Dead machines sit still on the sand, waiting for the march of the rust

The moon picks shadows in grotesque scenes, appalled that this still occurs
How often will the view lay out on the beach, can this be what man prefers
A sadness flows back out to the sea, death carried back by each wave
To be held in eternity for all to see, futility from dead and from the brave