Vivid imagery and thought-provoking shards of brilliance
Near Death Near Life by Dennis Maulsby is a journey into the past and a peek at the future. We live; we die. We are touched by both. Some parts leaves scars, others laugh lines. Maulsby forces one to think about both experiences with broad meaning but concise precision at times. The flashes of brilliance force one to pause and remember one’s own brushes with death and glory in the joy of living. It reminded me that pain sometimes makes me feel close to the kind of life I dreamt about, but somehow reaching for it with frustration as I fall short of my ideal.
The experience of war is described in short bursts, similar to a soldier’s reaction in a firefight.
The time seems frozen and infinite but in hindsight was in fact fleeting. Life is confusing and death is final. At times Maulsby’s verse scratched off the scabs from old wounds compartmentalized somewhere in my warrior memory. Life is dance, music, rain, flowers, birds on wing. Death is final and universal. Maulsby takes the reader by the hand and meanders between the two with great skill. Veterans should read the book. Lovers of free verse poetry shouldn’t miss the opportunity to walk hand-in-hand with the author.
MWSA Reviewer: Michael D. Mullins
Near Death / Near Life strikes a meaningful and tender balance between the appreciation for life's poignant moments, and the human experience of war, both as a construct and a memory.