By: Jon M. Nelson
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC
Publication Date: June 2013
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: October 12, 2013
Jon M. Nelson shares heartfelt sentiments across a broad spectrum of poetry compilations that range from American pride to love sprinkled with subtle nuances toward the dark side as well.
Mr. Nelson’s poetry allows the reader to experience a natural connection and understanding toward the many challenges humans face today. He strategically exposes his audience at the onset with the concept of American pride. However, it’s not just about pride. Rather the deeper one reads into this body of work, the further he or she will understand the many sacrifices this former soldier endured for the pride (and love) of his country. He holds no remorse in his decision to wear the uniform and prolifically writes his sentiments of what that means through the many poems in the section titled "American Pride." Through this series of poems, Nelson treats the reader to several variations of what it means to be a soldier and more importantly, how ingrained his (and their) honor is to pay homage to the ‘Red, White and Blue.’ One poem, in particular, All In a Day’s Work: ‘...Up in the morning before it’s even light, They work all day, then go home at night. Giving it all through the sweat and hurt, For them, this is all just in a day’s work...’ , Mr. Nelson portrays an admirable and humble quality in his delivery. I have never served in the military and therefore can only ponder the inherent conviction one must own to serve our country and unrequitedly at that.
As a writer myself, poetry has often presented a challenge for me to get it down on paper in form to touch the emotions of many. In Reflections of Life, there is a natural flow from stanza to stanza that makes sense and does indeed tap into a series of emotions. Mr. Nelson does not use large and ostentatious wording to complicate the premise. Rather, he uses a vast selection of hard hitting words with impact; allowing the reader to formulate his or her own opinion. In A Soldier’s Night Before Christmas, Nelson has used the age-old Dickens classic and blanketed it with a whole new twist. It is the Night Before Christmas, but this time, it’s a Soldier’s night: ‘…The soldiers were tired and laid in their racks. It was a long day, and it was time to hit the sacks. The chaplain had just given the evening prayer. And it was time to doze off without a care. When outside the tent something had exploded. We all jumped up, and we locked and loaded...’
Nelson expands on his soldier premise and addresses the importance of love; to believe in and chase after your dreams and yes, have a little (or a lot of) faith. Even in darker moments; such as Crimson Rain: “...As I look all around, everything is soaked. From all the violence that’s been provoked. Crimson rivers now flow through the street, and it is everywhere I try to place my feet...’ At the poem’s end, there may not be a happily ever after, but the tone is not full of admonishments. Rather, it’s laced with an open ended wonder of ‘why’ and, again, Nelson leaves it up to the reader to arrive at the answer. Simply put, Jon M. Nelson has delivered an insightful body of work that many readers can gravitate to and perhaps apply the message to something going on in his or her life. Essentially, there’s a little bit of something for everyone in Reflections of Life.
Quill says: Reflections of Life is a heartfelt rendition of a soldier’s life experiences and memories. There is, without question, something between its covers for a broad spectrum of readers.