Thomas was a Royal Marine who went South to the Falklands in April 1982, he was an anti aircraft gunner. Like many of his comrades who came back he wrote about his experiences during and after the conflict and, also like many of his comrades he suffered from PTSD, or as it was known at the time Combat Stress. He spent much time in and out of hospital dealing with severe depression. Easton Thomas died from cancer on 5th September 2015. His friends have come together to bring this short poetry anthology together in his memory. Thomas had his problems but he fought them, getting help and more importantly giving help, to his friends.
The book is short, just 78 pages but into that we have over 70 poems, short pieces of prose explaining the memories that Easton had.
Personally I found these very moving, very evocative and descriptive. It is not difficult to feel from the words he has put down what was happening to him and those around him.
One poem that struck me was “For This Date I Will Not Be Late”
For I did not know when I had crossed that line –no one had told me at what point in time,
but for this date there was no turning back,
no hiding place, no shelter, no cover.
We even won and came back home,
but I was not the same man that had left.
Although I still had a heart it was now stone –
I had crossed that line.
Physically I’d made it home, but not all of me,
for I had crossed that line even if it was just in my mind.
I cannot expect to be the same again.
I will not be late – my choice, my fate – for like many
before me, perhaps presently or even after me,
there is already a date set for me.
To me strong words from a young man who went to war and came home changed.. Life was not easy for Easton when he came back and that is chronicled here. It is worth noting that the work he did before and during the conflict rhymed in the main, the stuff he did in later life, after that line had been crossed, did not rhyme. I am not normally a poetry person but when I was sent this book to review for another publication I was taken to it and knew it deserved a review on ARRSE and Rum Ration.
The book can be bought through his website: eastonthomas
5/5 for a poignant book.