Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Advising the student who came back from Iraq in autumn

I asked him

What did I ask him?

Did I ask if he’s OK?
If “it’s” OK.
Are “things” OK?

He’d started college
before the tour, and now he said
he wondered if he’d be too dumb
for it, coming back.

My god I just go home, and I see maple leaves
scattered, covering the green
completely. And that is my life

going from here
to there,

seeing things to be gathered up
and reassembled

only to be scattered again.

Ruth Mowry
October 2007


Ginnie said...

What a powerful poem, Ruth. I can't imagine how you must have felt when he came to you...other than totally scattered after feeling you were put together!

Loring Wirbel said...

Bravo, send this one to Prairie Schooner or Red Cedar Review (still published?) or somewhere - seriously!

freefalling said...

I'll expose myself as a total ignoramus here - I've never really "got" poetry - my poetry gene is missing. I wish I had one, because I would love to weave words together and I know the powerful impact poetry has on many, many people. I love words but poetry just escapes me.

Although, this bit resonates.
"seeing things to be gathered up
and reassembled

only to be scattered again."

And I love the beauty of your first photo - now that gene I've got!

MedaM said...

Very touching poem, Ruth!

swedehart said...

What a lucky boy to have you to help him to reassemble his life. With you, I know he will be OK. He will see his true worth in your eyes.

Rauf said...

yes Ruth, the boy is lucky to be alive first, then to reassemble himself with your guidance, but the imapct of war lasts for ever, never forgotten.
Specially the gruesome nature of present warfare.

'Through-JoAnn's-Digital-Eyes' said...

Hi dear Ruth, What a great poem and wonderfull photography!

I posted again some Paris Pics in case you are interested, just visit my blog and look:)I wish you a good weekend

Greetings JoAnn:)

Ruth said...

Boots, it was highly emotional for me, even though neither of us spoke of it. He had emailed me from Iraq in the spring, asking for help with his class schedule. That started the emotional trail, and by the time he sat in my office in the fall, the air was so charged for me, I just felt helpless, didn't know what to say. And we talked as if everything was as normal as could be.

Ruth said...

Loring, oh thank you. :) Yes, the Red Cedar Review is still up and running, though it's gone through a few hiccups in years past. It's the longest running student run journal in the country, over 40 years now. We're very proud of it. But I am very lazy about submitting poems.

Ruth said...

Freefalling, I know what you mean. There is a seeming disconnect between "coming back" and "My god I just go home . . " Don't think about it too hard. It was just the emotion of knowing my life is simple, and comparing it with what he went through.

Ruth said...

Thank you, MedaM. :)

Ruth said...

Swedehart, thank you, such sweet words. I feel completely inadequate though.

Ruth said...

rauf, it's true. That's what I was feeling, the inadequacy of anyone to really be reassembled.

Ruth said...

Thank you, JoAnn. I'll come look!

Kalyan said...

WoW...some really beautiful shots as also a very beautiful poem...really touching!

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, Kalyan.