Listen: ‘Soldier’s Heart’ by Maj Ragain
Maj Ragain (1940-2018) was a beloved creative writing professor and mentor at Kent State University for more than 30 years. In addition to his role guiding and inspiring students and poets in the greater Kent community, he also spent roughly a decade leading the Warriors Journey Home Veterans Healing Circle in Northeast Ohio. Warriors Journey Home is a nonprofit organization focused on supporting veterans as they work to heal from “the unseen wounds of war and military service.”
Ragain wrote the following poem, “Soldier’s Heart,” in honor of his experience with Warriors Journey Home.
We sing the old wounds,
word by word, stitch by stitch,
many hands, many voices.
The needle hurts as the thread
is drawn through, the mouth
of the wound drawn shut.
Our work is to listen hard,
to look the wounded in the eye,
to stitch and pull
press through pain,
until every knot is tied,
every last wound closed,
every broken heart
healed and whole. – Maj Ragain
Poem and video courtesy of the Wick Poetry Center and the Traveling Stanzas project. Artwork by David Steckel.
A public reading featuring veteran poets from Warriors Journey Home will take place at 8 p.m. on Nov. 11 at Last Exit Bookstore in Kent.