Heart Without Words, A
Author: David Mcdonald
Publisher: lulu.com (2012)
Binding: Paperback, 82 pages
A mother’s anguish, a soldier’s fear of dying, a father’s words to his baby girl: these are just some of the sentiments David McDonald captures in A Brace of Verse From the Heart: A Heart Without Words.
The collection of poems conveys what people might experience while being separated by combat zones or death. Indeed death hovers over the slim volume making the reader feel quite vulnerable and uneasy. “If I Should Die” is prayer like “If I should die before the dawn, bear my body and take me back home.” Indeed its reminiscent of the childhood prayer ‘If I shall die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.’
McDonald, who joined the British Army in 1973, is at his best when stepping outside himself and into the emotions of others; primarily mothers whose sons are lost to war. ‘Mother of the Dead’ beautifully illustrates how a parent tries to keep parenting even after her child is dead. She feels compelled to tend to his grave. Readers witness a poignant exchange between a mother and sentry:
“Where do you go old lady” the sentry saw her from afar
“I go to tend my seed my lad, afore the sky fills with stars”
In the short poem ‘A Letter’ McDonald explores why a soldier might choose to withdraw from loved ones and in the poem 'Afghanistan,' he speaks to what it might be like to live for a year believing your loved one is in harms way every single second.
The collection of poems will appeal to those with loved ones in war zones, who have a loved one who served in combat, or to combat veterans themselves.
Reviewed by: Cathryn J. Prince (2012)