'Carried On The Shoulder' & 'Nomad: My Autobiography': Two Poems by Wilda Morris


Inspired by “The Traveler”, by Umberto Verdirosi, Orvieto, Italy

I want to ask the traveler what he carries

in the pack slung over his shoulder. No radio

or TV, surely. No hair dryer, not a wardrobe

of fashionable clothes or multiple pairs of shoes.

The bag is too small for a freezer

full of food, a shelf of canned goods, a library

of as-of-yet unread books—all the staples

meant to save us from a stark future.

He has left behind his collection of trinkets.

Fine china, and silver-plate tableware.

What do I lug around that keeps me fixed in place

where I have to dust decorative plates and napkin rings?

Where the furniture has to be moved and swept under?

Why are my shelves full of books I but no longer open

and others I wrongly thought I’d read cover to cover,

books that have to be dusted and rearranged? When

will I toss the heavy load of things from my shoulders?

And what strands of guilt, hurt, and anger

woven into the shroud I carry from year to year,

the shroud I don’t want to leave as my legacy?

When will I unravel fear for the future, unresolved grudges,

insecurity, unsatisfactory relationships, and throw them out?

I will walk with this wanderer and learn his ways,

seek for threads in the colors of forgiveness

and self-acceptance. I will crochet them into a shawl

worthy to be willed to the loved ones I will leave behind.



I followed the whistle

down the railroad tracks

and out of town.

Every place I live

is a station with a ticket window,

an airport where I pick up

a boarding pass.

Come with me if you will

or I’ll travel alone.


Wilda Morris is happiest when traveling or spending time with her grandchildren and/or great-grandchildren. She is Workshop Chair of Poets and Patrons of Chicago, and a past-president of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Wilda's poems have been published in numerous anthologies, webzines, and print publications, and have won numerous awards. Her latest book, Pequod Poems: Gamming with Moby-Dick, was published by Kelsay Books in 2019. Her blog, wildamorris.blogspot.com, features monthly contests for other poets.

First photograph is of Wilda Morris in Orvieto.

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