Gabriel Woodrow sitting by his Hooch in Vietnam in 1967

of my Soul

My Poetry and Deepest Thoughts in prose and Writing

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The War is Never Over

by Gabriel Odell Woodrow

Uncomfortable in my new surroundings
wandering between this group and the next
not fully awake from rpg's blown orange,
clad in simpler garb
I search myself for slivers unable to rust
as they rise from the streams of my flesh,
feelings lost inside of me.

I enter a group with new faces sitting there
suddenly, the cannon of my voice
commanding them to take cover.
but their replies are not like those
of men I feel within, the months having covered them
with grass grown cold in memory.

These voices begin to search, sensing movement within
and succeed with memories that flow forth with pain.
The new voices continue grasp at things hidden within -
a miniature soldier standing rigid
the point of his bayonet piercing the skin for escape.
they draw at him with words
and I feel him giving way.

Then, with the prisoner held between us
I follow the current toward the light.
Caught no longer in the death of my crew
with only the moon for a guide
we question the prisoner frantically
to learn the invasion plans of those left behind
to drain my heart.

Now, in the blue of this dawning
I watch my enemy twist once before curling dead
having risen from within me.

Giving him now to the glowing light
a little better for witnessing his ascending
I kneel to the dead mans voyage.

Note: As of October '05, I still attend weekly
PTSD groups - its a little better now...

The Question Is...

They taught me to kill, and killing is my crime.
When I killed for them they thought well of me,
but when I began to kill myself they cast me into prison.

It is not for punishment, they say, that I am here,
but to be rehabilitated through treatment.
It puzzles me. Why is it I that must be treated?

written in FCI Terminal Island, first stop after Viet Nam.

Even after the way my country treated me I still consider myself to be a Marine.
I am proud of what it means. And I have reaped its rewards, more and more, in recent years. I have remained faithful and have passed the heitage down to my sons and son-in-law, all proud Marines. I have been rcognized at last, welcomed home and even given disability for injuries and illness incurred in Vietnam. My faith in God, Corps, and Country have sustained me. I still struggle and pay the price with each new day.

But I remain faithful to all those left behind. I still have the gift of life so, on my honor as a Marine I try to do them honor by living every day I have to the fullest.

"I cradled your head in my lap and ran my fingers through your hair as your life flowed from the gaping hole in your chest. I eventually had to give you to God, I couldn't carry you any more. But I will never forget..."

Gabriel O. Woodrow - Just a Marine

Helena, Montana
Submitted 14 October 2005
© 2005 - All Rights Reserved

Send Email to Gabe via his Brother-in-Arms, Jake...