Throughout his successful career as a scientist and engineer, Bill McDonald wrote poetry as a way of expressing and connecting to his innermost thoughts about his experiences and the world around him. Walking on a Moonbeam is a compilation of these poems.
McDonald arranges his poems by themes, such as “Love,” “Hope,” “Youth,” and “Adventure.” The author begins each section with a series of epigraphs by poets, philosophers, authors, etc., relating to each theme. With these quotations often numbering four or more, it feels as if McDonald isn’t quite confident that his own words will impart the full spirit behind them.
His poems offer simple rhyme schemes, many expressing his awe at nature, such as “Autumn Days,” which begins: “Splashes of gold on a canvas of green/ White powder atop a craggy peak,/ Bright sunny skies, air crisp and clean,/ A time of life for all to seek.” Not every poem sets an idyllic scene however. For instance, in “Don’t Leave Me Alone, ”McDonald’s tone shifts to fear as he ponders the possibility of his wife dying before him: “Today my heart trembles with fear,/ Knowing you might not always be near./ It is more than I can bear,/ To think of life without you there.”
The centerpiece of the collection is clearly “The Greatest Adventure.” Written during McDonald’s work on the Apollo moon mission, it’s a three-and-a-quarter page love letter to the machine and the moon: “Mighty rocket engines roar./ Far beyond my eyes you rise and soar.”
These are simple poems that don’t offer much in the way of fresh imagery or striking insights. The light, sing-song rhyme scheme tends to diminish the impact of the author’s more serious subjects and lend a greeting card feel overall. Still, Walking on the a Moonbeam is a pleasant, easy read and, while unlikely to attract serious poetry readers, is sure to be cherished by those who know and are loved by the author.
Also available as an ebook.