Literary Hook: Wilda Morris offers a poignant poem about the V.A. Hospital

Christine Swanberg

By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet

As I reflect on this past Memorial Day, I am reminded of a poem by Wilda Morris that is set in a VA hospital. I am sure you will be moved by her short, but poignant, poem.

At the V.A. Hospital

The men gather—

tall and short

old, gray-bearded

and young, fresh-faced

friendly and withdrawn

dark skin and light

Each unique

Each wounded by war’s dark memories

When two begin speaking of explosives

bagging body parts to send back home

another begs them to change the subject

Given paper,

he can’t pen a poem

because now his head

is filled

with body bags,

splattered blood,

mangled feet and fingers

detached heads

the things he most wants to forget

Wilda Morris

Wilda Morris is president of Poets & Patrons of Chicago and a past president of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Her poetry has been widely published and has won a number of awards. Her blog at provides a monthly contest for other poets. Rockford Writers’ Guild published her book, Szechwan Shrimp and Fortune Cookies: Poems from a Chinese Restaurant.

Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet.

From the June 20-26, 2012, issue

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