Review: THE DRUM THAT BEATS

Review by Bob Lane

“In The Drum that Beats Within Us, Mike Bond shares his deep love for our magnificent western forests, mountains and wild open spaces, and his profound expression of the joys and tragedies of love and of life’s greatest existential questions.” – from the introduction

An award-winning poet and critically acclaimed novelist, MIKE BOND has been called the “master of the existential thriller” by the BBC and “one of the 21st century’s most exciting authors” by the Washington Times. His widely loved novels and poetry depict the innate hunger of the human heart for the good, the intense joys of love, and the beauty of the vanishing natural world. The flavour of the book is captured by this quote: “In all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other.” – Carl Sagan

The poems are beautiful and range from the long lyrical expressions of love and nature to the brief expressions of a moments insight into a sudden feeling, expressed with a few words that capture the moment and the feeling perfectly:

Our skin – is it the air? Our soles the grass?

Truly is the earth our heart, as from the earth we pass? – From “Leaving Indian Caves, Montana”

“the best words can do is say how we feel” – From I CHERISH YOU

I cannot touch/ what hurts me / it will not go away – From SORROW

“Nothing/ will always/ be true” – From NOTHING

One of the recurring themes is time and our relationship with it in our daily walk toward the grave. Internal time with its mind-oriented observations and contemplations, its deep feelings and yearnings, its love of the earth and of others; time past with memories of other poets and cultural heroes and the words they employ to assist us in our existential acceptance of life and death; external time which flows inevitably and silently and personally to an inevitable end.

“Homecoming” is a short poem which looks back at Ulysses:

Or, this moving poem about an ordinary event in an ordinary life in an ordinary place:

One of my favourites is CRAZY QUILT: A poem about scraps: a dead brother, killed in Vietnam, a pregnant sister, a rusted tricycle, scraps that make a pattern, a pattern that makes a life. And, of course, a warning about war and being honest:

And finally, a recipe for life here and now:

“Touch the earth, come together with the grass/ that mats the fields, understand the joy/ of emptiness” – From THE POETS AMONG US

Bond writes in the preface, “Despite multiple lamentations over its demise, poetry is still alive and well – especially in one of its most ancient forms: lyrics. In recent decades it has even reached new heights of cultural and artistic prominence, and is the backbone of the major musical and cultural evolution of the twentieth century.”

Get this book of poems. Read them. Consider them. Live poetically.

Bob Lane is an Emeritus Philosopher at Vancouver Island University.

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