War Poems by Christopher Pascale is a poignant account of his time in the U.S. Marine Corps. Pascale starts off the book with a foreword that explains his motivations behind enlisting in the Corps. And when he so amazingly puts it forward like this, it is hard not to feel a burgeoning sense of patriotism, irrespective of which country you are from.
“I believe it is the responsibility of a man who appreciates the opportunities his country affords him to defend him if he wishes to continue taking advantage of those opportunities in the future.”
Since this book is an autobiographical account, it is not fair for one to judge the story. But it is easy enough to have an opinion on the quality of the poems, the opinion leaning largely towards the positive end of the radar. Yes, it is difficult to understand a few lines in a few of the poems, but that does not make it any less poignant. There is a little bit of slang used, but is it not the whole point of making poetry be relatable and beautiful at the same time?
Though each story brings out a different facet, the best among the lot is undoubtedly Camping With Dad. It’s eerie and touching in equal measure, while bringing out the goosebumps in full force. What makes it special? The writing, the situation, the innocence – everything that the poet/author intended it to be!
Pascale’s poems get better and better as you flip the pages. With a subtlety that rages through your mind as you read through the accounts, Pascale makes sure that you get the message without getting awkward about it. Some poems are short, some are long. But every one of them conveys its message properly across. While some poems are motivational and put you up on your feet, some others are heartbreaking. You can’t put a finger on what makes them thus, but as you finish reading it, you feel sad and forlorn. Such is the effect that Pascale’s writing/poetry has.
The style of writing is simple, almost like a narration, but there is music in this style of poetry. It’s the simplicity that hits you with the force of a battering ram. There isn’t any explanation as to why you feel the load crushing your chest as you read the poems, aside from the fact that they are as beautifully realistic as a poem could possibly be. Christopher Pascale’s writing embodies the feelings of so many helpless parents who want to give their children the world, but instead are weighed down by other worldly expectations and responsibilities. It hits you right in the feels, making you stop and think for a good while!
“Help me,” I said, “I need you.”
And he said, “You don’t need me. Everything you need is already inside of you. Now take yourself home.”
And I did.
How immensely empowering and motivational these few words are! Amazing!
We think that we have it bad, that we suffer. But do we ever stop to think of what the brave men who protect their countries have to go through? Fiercely loyal to their countries and brutal to their enemies, they sacrifice too much to ensure that we lead normal lives. The least we can do is to give them the respect and the love that they deserve.
Another way of looking at it is: You’d think that you’d be doing good but what if there’s a wholly different perspective to it? Pascale’s story through poetry brings this perspective to the forefront and makes you look at life and at the world with new, fresher eyes and fresher thoughts.
The best part of these poems, however, is that Pascale isn’t looking for recognition or acknowledgment. He is merely looking to put forth his feelings. It is this simplicity that bowls you over in the first place. And if you happen to think even for a moment that what he said about not being a patriot is true, then the afterword will make you smile and chew your thoughts!
All in all, this account, War Poems, by Christopher Pascale, is a heartfelt series of poems that are neither pretentious nor annoying. All they are is true. And you can feel it in every word of the book that you read!