I am very pleased to have discovered David McDonald as an author. After reading his book (Enlightment), I was intrigued by his method of writing about the life of a sergeant stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan. While browsing through his other publications, I came across the poetry eBook I am currently reviewing, and wanted to give it a try.
I studied classic and contemporary poetry in university, English, South-African, as well as (translated) Japanese Zen poetry in the form of Haiku. My knowledge of poetry is quite good, and I always enjoy reading poetry by unknown authors. This eBook was such a publication from a new author, and he has done a great job.
For me, poetry is about describing surroundings, exploring and analysing emotions and habits, as well as an opportunity to vent about everyday greatnesses and disasters. And I believe poetry is a perfect non-violent and non-physical method for a soldier to express anger, frustrations, as well as hope, and love.
In the foreword, the author writes: “This is the first of two books which deal with the one thing the Military can’t train, THE HEART, and the emotions a Soldier may encounter.” From psychology perspective, we can train how we think about events and therefore change habits, as those thoughts and habits are shaped in the prefrontal cortex. Emotions, anxiety, fear, as well as comfort are regulated in different parts of the brain that we are not able to control, other than by overriding those through reasoning in the neo-cortex. But when a person cannot rationally detach, the core brain functions take over, which could result in trauma, disparity, or a complete shut-down (shock). And that is why we cannot train our “heart” as those inner beliefs and core feeling interpretations cannot be ignored, overridden, or lost focus of. That is what is written in these poems.