4 out of 4 stars
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A Soldier's Book of Poems by E. J. Hardy opens a window into the author's feelings, thoughts, and reflections on his life as a soldier. The book contains 28 poems, and, according to the author, he wrote them while he was in a deep depression of no longer being able to work and facing a deteriorating state of health.
At 17, Mr. Hardy left school to join the Army. After serving for 33 years, the Army released him from service for medical reasons. The poems in this book have diverse themes like family, parenthood, love, friendship, and death. The book opens with the piece, 'Window of Life,' where the poet acknowledges how we are curious to know the future but are also scared we may not like what we see. However, he asks if we would really want to change our destiny and be satisfied doing so. At the end of the book, poems like 'Is It Wrong?' reflect the author's depression at the time.
This title further opened my eyes to appreciate the sacrifices those in the military continue to make for us. From some of the poems in the book, I could easily understand why many veterans are diagnosed with PTSD. However, I love how the author's poems express that he doesn't have any regrets about serving in the Army. I also enjoyed how grateful he is for his wonderful family, especially his wife, who stood by him through thick and thin. I liked how some of the poems prompted me to look inwards and reflect on my life. The poem, 'A Spec in Time,' reminded me of the inevitability of death and why we shouldn't bother ourselves with what people say or think about us.
Furthermore, the poems in this book are well written. I admired the author's use of figures of speech, like metaphor and personification, to make his writing colorful and intriguing. In the poem, 'Far Away,' the poet writes, "I know that death is never far, but this does not change my stance, for euphoria fills my body when I ask the devil for a dance." So powerful! However, my favorite aspect of this book is the author's prioritization of the cohesion of his thoughts over rhymes. While I enjoyed the rhyming scheme in most of the poems, I especially loved that they never appeared forced or got in the way of my understanding of the poems and the author's expressions. As a result, it is easy to empathize with the author and appreciate his honest expressions.
In conclusion, I am happy to report that I didn't dislike anything about this publication. I found a few typos in it, but the book seems professionally edited. Hence, I rate A Soldier's Book of Poems a solid four out of four stars. I highly recommend it to fans of poetry, especially those interested in poems reflecting the raw emotions of an ex-soldier.
A Soldier's Book of Poems
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