H  Y  G  E  I  A ®                             






l,
Thursday 5th of December 2019


POETRY AND ESSAYS

My Poetry is about hope and despair; about celebration and sorrow. But mostly, it is about hope. Forms of expression implicit in symbolic language; poetry and verse, song, prayer and ritual, have served a role in all cultures and societies to dispel the tears and foster the healing of death and human loss, suffering and despair. Why does poetry triumph as a source of enduring inspiration and hope?

Though our spirits may fade and our viscera bleed, we are enabled by the agents of our humanity empowered by ancestral song and promise(Berman, 1999)

Comfort may be achieved through the transfer of the poet's feelings into the reader or listener's mind. It transports the reader from the distractions and influences of the outside world inward to the internal rhythms and solace of the personal soul. The poet becomes a healer and his poetry his staff. Through verse and meter, free of inhibition yet full with expression, the poet may articulate a sensitivity and empathy and provoke this introspection and inner peace. A poem is transformed into a message of hope. There is wonderment and magic in the words of a poem. Each word is selected for its individual meaning within the context of the entire poem. A few properly selected words can move the reader to tears and awaken the primal emotions of joy, promise, despair and hope. A poet should evoke emotion in his work and write as if each poem is written with the poet's last words.

The language of poetry, within the broader context of its 'parent body' (literature,) has always had as its great themes, love, loss and death. The inclusion of hope to these thematic elements is worthwhile if not essential for, (as humans) we have the capacity to bring hope to a despair that is uniquely created by our humanity and our human conditions.

As an Obstetrician, my professional career has involved a striving to bring comfort and healing to children, born and yet to born, and to mothers through their years of childbearing and beyond. It has been the cause in my life. I have been uplifted by the triumphs of birth and healing and depressed by the failures. Yet I have always tried to look beyond the failures in search of the triumphs. I have counseled patients at the darkest times of their lives, when their children have died, and I have turned to the comfort of personal reflection, poetry and self-expression to better help me help my patients. I have learned that by writing down thoughts which might elucidate my feelings more clearly than the spoken word, I have become a better physician.

"Art, poetry(sic) is human intelligence playing over the natural scene, ingeniously affecting it toward the fulfillment of human purpose."

"The Poet's gift...awakens in a special way the emotions of those who feel wordless in the face of loss."

"By making us stop for a moment, poetry gives us an opportunity to think about ourselves as human beings on this planet and what we mean to each other."

"By making us stop for a moment, poetry gives us an opportunity to think about ourselves as human beings on this planet and what we mean to each other." Rita Dove

"Communication is the web of human society. The structure of a communication system with its more or less well defined channels is in a sense the skeleton of the social body which envelops it. The content of communications is of course the very substance of human intercourse. The flow of communications determines the direction and the pace of dynamic social development."

"Only those within whose own consciousness the suns rise and set, the leaves burgeon and wither,can be said to be aware of what living is." Joseph Wood Krutch


A Selection of Poems of Loss and Hope

(Earlier works)
Volume 1

"Only those within whose own 
consciousness the suns rise and set,
the leaves burgeon and wither,
can be said to be aware of what living is."
Joseph Wood Krutch

 


Netzah 
[Eternity] 
Could I have died so soon, 
So soon that my cries 
Were silenced in your womb? 
So soon that I'll never touch 
Your breast nor feel 
Your hands caress 
My brow? 
So soon that you never got 
To sigh and cry 
Sweet tears of joy, 
For your first child, 
Your first born boy? 
Could I have died so soon? 
I suspect not, 
For I felt the passion 
Of your love around me 
As my heartbeats slowed, 
Then stopped. 
As I lay motionless, 
I heard the misery 
In your cries that 
I would not be born alive 
And wondered, why? 
Yesterday father, you fathered me. 
Today dear mother, you birthed me. 
I was there, You were there. 
We all stood witness. 
I heard your whispers, 
That you love me. 
I heard you tell each other 
How beautiful I was viewed 
In my eternal quietude. 
I even felt your soft caress 
As you held me to your breast. 
On this morn, mourn not for me. 
With ethereal grace I have a name. 
I have a home, I have a life... 
To live through all eternity. 
1994 
Netzah, one of ten fundamental forces or Sefirot of 
Jewish Mysticism , means eternity and represents the conquest or capacity for overcoming. Alexander died in 
utero one day before his birth. The cause of his death 
was from a of a true knot in his umbilical cord. After 
the birth, his mother and father and family held him 
for hours, in love. 


Hope 

When roses lose their loveliness 
When rivers cease to flow; 
When sunlight fails to warm the air, 
When stars no longer glow. 
When birds cannot take to flight, 
When a ruby's luster fades; 
When leaves refuse to fall from boughs, 
When trees cannot give shade. 
When fields of flowers wither, 
When clouds cease making rain; 
When mountain ranges cast no shadows, 
When prairies cannot grow grain. 
When these natural wonders end, 
When there's no dusk or dawn; 
When all life's miracles cease to be.... 
...Only then will my hope be gone. 
1992 
This expectant mother had a miscarriage in 
her fourth month of her pregnancy, after five years of 
infertility and several cycles of in-vitro fertilization. 
She has no children at home and is determined to 
continue her quest for a child. 


Aurora 
Part lost is my soul, 
But not lost my hope. 
My strength still remains; 
I am able cope. 
For on this day 
When my child has been taken, 
I look towards the heavens. 
I've not been forsaken. 
The sun darts back 
And forth in between 
Clusters of clouds, 
Yet few shadows are seen. 
For there shining through 
Is a hope which will brighten, 
And fade all the sorrow; 
My burden's to lighten. 
1989 
The indelible trauma of the demise of fetal life. If 
this happened one time it would be too much. This 
patient endured two unexplained fetal deaths and felt 
she would not surrender her faith. She had a healthy 
son one year after this last loss. 


Gemini 
Behold my body cares for a wondrous 
Harvest grand and full. 
Two beings longing for birth 
With one singular purpose, 
To reveal their soul. 
With delight in my womb 
I yearn to touch and cry. 
And when birth arrives, 
A passion I'll consume 
And behold my Gemini. 
1989 
Gemini means the Twins, in Latin, and in classical 
mythology means "great twin brethren." This mother 
was exposed to DES and had multiple miscarriages 
because of a weakened cervix[incompetent cervix.} When 
she was pregnant with this twin pregnancy, she had a 
suture placed like a purse string around her cervix to keep 
it from dilating prematurely. She remained at bedrest 
throughout her entire pregnancy and delivered twin 
girls at full term. 


Betrayed 

Liquor about my child 
Entombed, 
confined within 
My faltered womb 
How you betrayed all my 
Life's hope. 
Yet it is hope 
That will befriend and bath 
her primal soul 
With sweetness to 
Eternity's end. 
1994 
All too often a mother will have a disorder of the 
amniotic fluid leading to Perinatal loss. These 
unexpected and disastrous events led me to write these 
lines. 


Brook 

Summer breezes sway the poplar, 
As I walk the banks with my new daughter. 
Recalling summers spent in sorrow, 
In fear I'll forever walk without her. 
But through the seasons of this year, 
New hope was born, without that fear; 
My body pregnant, filled with life; 
No more sadness, no more strife. 
And in awe, my eyes did see 
Her image as she was born of me; 
Ruby cheeks, down-like hair, 
Eyes aglow, skin so fair. 
Thus I turn to thoughts of Summer, 
When breezes blow and sway the poplar 
When I walk and talk and look 
At my beloved daughter, Brooke. 
1990 
This mother had multiple pregnancy losses and no 
living children. She was at very high risk for another 
loss, but delivered Brook, healthy and beautiful. 


Jordan 

Listen all to the music of trumpets, 
Of harps; of lutes. 
With harmony they announce a joyous birth. 
Her namesake a river whose banks 
Of fertile soil caress the ripples of its 
Vital waters. Her life full of wonder, 
to flow endlessly, yet willingly, 
Into larger seas with unknown boundaries 
And infinite depths. 
For as the river flows out from the wilderness, 
So from our bodies her life began; 
With love and hope, 
Our angelic daughter, Jordan. 
1992 
This beautiful baby girl was born with Down's 
syndrome. Her brother, born one year earlier died of 
congenital heart disease. Her mother is the epitome 
of courage and strength. 


Tralee 

Not far from where the Shannon flows 
Lies the village of Tralee, 
Rejoicing the birth of Emily Rose, 
With simple serenity. 
A beautiful being born this day, 
A traveler who's traveled the journey of birth; 
A miraculous Odyssey for which we have prayed, 
Greater than any on all the Earth. 
So with a passion that cannot be rivaled, 
We hold dear to our hearts, 
This young child of ours, 
And bless her for life, our very beloved, 
For one full of song, sunshine and flowers. 
1990 
Dedicated to Emily Rose, born after many years of 
her mother's infertility. Tralee is a small village in 
Ireland that each year holds a majestic Rose festival. 
Madeline 
Alabaster columns of sunlight, gleaming, 
Illumine the darkness of this day. 
Nightmares turn to peaceful dreaming. 
Awesome fears fade far away. 
Though now my soul no longer dwells, 
Upon the world as I have known, 
Still I live beyond the pastel 
Elysian fields, are now my home. 
Weep no more for me, beloved, 
For I can sense no pain. 
At one with God in heaven above 
You; I'm at peace, and at peace shall I remain. 
1991 
For a patient who bravely and with lasting optimism 
faced the challenge of terminal cancer. Her devoted 
husband of many years was emotionally devastated 
upon her death. This poem was written to comfort him. 



Elyssium 

Our first born cries. 
A golden dream with 
Expectations as promising as 
The expansive petals of the 
Sunflower....and hope, 
To learn the provinces 
Of a virtuous world: 
Kindness compassion, 
Benevolence, caring, 
Integrity, tolerance, delight 
In sharing... as she emerges 
From her veil of childhood to 
Bathe in the joys of her 
Life; 
1991 
Written for my first born daughter, Stephanie. 
Elysium in Greek Mythology is the abode of the 
blessed; the paradise or happy land. 



Commencement 

I bear today 
A countenance of promised dreams; 
Sanguine visions sweetened with 
Maytime baskets 
Of floral scents and sights 
To smile upon the face of 
Spring's delights. And while 
The frosted tears of winter's cry 
Melt and flood the 
Mountain streams, 
I pause to wipe the joyful tears 
I've cried 
For my daughter's life and being, 
And her countenance of promised dreams. 
1993 
Another personal tribute to my child Stephanie upon 
her graduation from high school. 


Futility 

With caring hands he touches mine, 
And tells of my lost dreams. 
Melancholy surrounds me. 
No longer lives the love 
Which I've proclaimed. 
No longer lives the dream 
My mind has seen as 
Misfortune now comes to my 
Heart where only Joy should 
Rest. 

1989 
This young women just endured her third consecutive, 
unexplained pregnancy loss. 


Dawn 

The body in anguish to create, 
And the soul, cry out for birth. 
Then, you're born; not yet of age 
But whole. You cannot speak but your 
cries are heard as your mother wipes 
her tears and smiles. 
1989 
After many years of infertility and pregnancy 
losses, Dawn was born. Her birth was complicated by 
premature labor and fetal distress, and she was born 
emergently by Cesarean section. She weighed but 
four pounds at birth. 


The Rain 

Around me falls the silent rain, 
Dark clouds sound the thunder. 
My body's failed me once again 
Can I endure much more? I wonder. 
A weakened mind cries out for mercy, 
A stronger heart...it quests for hope. 
There is no sun- today is dreary, 
A shroud of mourning does envelope. 
The wrath I sense cannot be stated 
In words that one can understand. 
All good feelings have now abated, 
My tears I wipe with weakened hand. 
Fields of lilies grow this spring 
They bloom in all their glory... 
Yet for me there is no life to bring 
My child is but a memory. 
1992 
Only despair was felt by this patient whom after two 
earlier miscarriages and one ectopic{tubal} 
pregnancy, carried this pregnancy into the twenty 
second week and without warning, was found at her 
routine visit to my office to have a fetal death. 


Hymettus 

Softer than the softest rose 
are the clouds on which I sleep. 
Sweeter than the springtime honey 
are the thoughts that I now keep. 
Farther than the farthest star 
is the home where I shall live, 
Deeper than the greatest love 
is the love I've yet to give. 
A love that is immortal 
and will grow with each new dawn. 
What in our lives we shared together 
will remain to be reborn. 
So grieve no longer upon my death, 
my soul is still; at peace. 
I suffer not upon this journey; 
my ascent to ethereal grace. 

1993. 
Hymettus is a mountain in Attica, famous for the 
sweetness of its honey. This poem is for a husband 
whose young wife suddenly and unexpectantly died. 

 

Colleen 

Two spirits flood 
My mind and soul 
With abundant passion. 
A legacy willed to me 
Eternally, to bestow 
An inner sense that I belong. 
I possess a gift, 
Grand and sweet like the 
Gentle sound of the dulcimer's song. 
Perfect, yet simple: 
The blessed beauty 
Of my parents' love 
To endure forever. 
1992 
Just prior to Colleen's birth, her two grandparents 
died. 


Cameron 

I no longer see the stars; I am the stars. 
I no longer breathe the wind; I am the wind. 
I am the sweet smell of honeysuckle after an 
Evening rain. 
I am the dew on the rose petals in early 
Morning. 
I am harmony and I am peace. 
I am love. 
In sorrow, my mother and father cry, 
But they need not fear. For I am strong. 
My heart is whole and in union with my soul. 
I understand my fate and I smile. 
For nature's will is my destiny 
And my guide through eternity. 

1990 
After years of infertility, Cameron was born 
only to die soon after birth of congenital heart 
disease. Unlike most forms of congenital heart 
disease, Cameron's was inoperable and fatal. His 
courageous parents were with him every moment of 
his short but love- filled life. 


Pax 

Far above the obscure shore 
The sky cast forth a" darkness visible" 
That speaks your sadness forever more, 
Of a loss that's ever so insensible. 
But above these clouds where the sun beams glow 
With no shadows to cast or eclipse, 
My soul lives on; I feel no sorrow 
For in my world, I still exist. 
To those who love me, I feel your love. 
There is no pain, I am at rest. 
I have my peace in this heaven above, 
And with your prayers I am forever blessed. 
1989 
Written for parents upon the loss of their son, David. 
David was a young physician and cancer surgeon whose 
life was consumed by the very disease he treated. 


Ventose 

The chilling winds of March do blow, 
As on this day we mourn. 
And from our eyes fresh tears do flow, 
...our child will not be born. 
With God's consent did she ascend, 
To his Empyrean throne, 
A refuge surely to transcend, 
This grief we feel at home. 
So as the 'Ventose' winds abate 
And springtime flowers bloom, 
We know her soul is incarnate 
In Heaven's immortal womb. 
1993 
Empyrean is the highest abode of God. Ventose in French 
represents the March winds. This pregnancy terminated 
in the fourth months after an infection developed in the 
uterus. 


Megan 

Every cell in my body cries. 
I want to reach out, embrace you and 
tell you I care. 
I feel your pain, I know your needs, 
but I cannot find a way to comfort you. 
I watch the sun at dusk and sense 
its strength, And know it will rise again. 
1991 
For a patient whose child was ill at birth. 



Immortality 

Arise from behind your shadowy cloaks, 
Sinuous branches of olden oaks, 
Reveal thy life and thy glory; 
Your luminescence of immortality. 
Forever have you shown yourself 
Upon this earth where mortals dwell, 
To remind us we live for eternity, 
If not on earth then heavenly. 
With lenity and grace you comfort, 
When from our loved ones we must part. 
You give us all the strength to bear 
The formidable burdens of our despair. 
And a lessening of our sorrow, 
As we live, love and delight... beyond tomorrow. 
1990 
Written for a longtime patient, friend and young mother 
who died of ovarian cancer. 


The Eagal(Aquilla) 

Among the timbers; oaks and elms, 
Not far from brackish seas, 
Alights a golden ern. 
With winged strength and keen eye, 
A revered being; Aetites. 
His talons anchor to the branch, 
High in trees above. 
With affirmation he proclaims his might, 
And beckons homage, 
A wondrous Bird of Jove. 
Immortal is he, this golden Eagle 
Ever symbolic of ancient kings. 
For after death he will soar 
From the depths: a Phoenix, 
With greater courage and stronger wings. 
1989 
In honor of a colleague and mentor who lost his life to 
lung cancer. 


Silence 

No longer do I fear my death, 
For my weakened body now reborn, 
Will witness every dawn of every morn 
That is yet to cast itself upon 
The remnants of my past. 
And thus the light above me now, 
With rays aglow in silent symmetry, 
Will forever shine far into that eternity 
Where I will be 
At peace. 
1990 

 

Sidney 

Clothed in winter's vale of lace, 
Stands an aged tree. 
Awaiting springtime's youthful face, 
To birth its hues of green. 
Yet here upon this winter eve, 
A birth did not await. 
A daughter whom from love conceived, 
Born pure and delicate. 
Her father's hands were first to touch, 
This soft and graceful form. 
A special being to love so much, 
And rejoice with each new morn. 
So as the snow drapes on the boughs, 
Of olden elms and oaks. 
Know well this child of winter now, 
Is blessed with spring's new hopes. 
1993 
After having a pregnancy loss, this mother 
conceived. She went into labor at home and did not 
have time to get to the hospital. Her husband 
delivered his daughter Sydney by himself at home. 


The Vow 

Sapphire waves besieged the shore, 
With fury calling at my door, 
For me to join them in retreat. 
But not yet ready for defeat, 
I spurned their request 
And went onwards with my quest: 
To live and love with you. 
With my life at last fulfilled, 
I have succumbed to natures will. 
Now tranquil as the ocean's depths, 
I feel a peace here after death. 
My spirit's strong and remains whole, 
For I vowed this vow within my soul: 
To live and love with you. 

1993 
Written for a close family friend who endured years 
multiple surgeries for lung cancer . 


Amaurot 

"All we know 
Of what they do above, 
Is that they happy are, 
and that they love." 
Edmund Waller 
If I could wish myself a dream, 
It would be to retreat for a lifetime and hide 
From a world of unjust suffering 
Where mankind's afflictions and pains reside. 
I'd labor to quarry limestone and granite 
To fashion for my very own 
A sanctuary to spend infinite years; 
Eternity would now be my home. 
I'd cultivate gardens of forsythia and violets, 
Plant olive trees and harvest grains; 
Grow apple orchards and grape vineyards, 
From their full bounty would I be sustained. 
Of lyres and harps there'd come splendid music, 
Beautiful children would dance and be gay. 
Sadness and crying would never bear witness, 
Illness and sorrow would remain far away. 
You'd be the first to visit my home, 
Sweet child whose earthly life has been taken. 
For here you would live and love and be blessed, 
With God at your side, your eternal beacon. 
1993 
Amaurot is the fictional capital of Utopia. I wrote this 
poem in memory of a child born with a most 
devastating birth defect and died shortly after birth. I 
dedicate this poem to all children who have died. 


Sonnet of Faith 

Appareled in a veil of grace, 
Angst and despair showed its face. 
Yet from your eyes a gleam did shine, 
A hint of nature's grand design. 
To teach us all that we must cope, 
And never lose our faith and hope. 
That all things bad and all things sad 
Will be eclipsed by what makes us glad: 
Love and trust in one another. 
Wholesome values as father, mother. 
Embracing our children sweet and fair, 
Holding their hands, combing their hair. 
These are the flames that within us burn, 
The passions strong for which we yearn. 
So while today your loss brings drear, 
The morrow's sunshine will again appear. 
1992 
Written for a young couple who underwent a 
termination of pregnancy for a lethal genetic 
anomaly. They had a wonderful understanding of 
each other and a devotion to their three old daughter 
that allowed them to face their bereavement with 
strength and hope. 


Saline 

I grasped his strong hand 
weeping edema beneath 
mottled skin and 
pulsed coded messages. 
Then with a kiss 
placed gently upon his brow, 
withdrew, and said good-bye. 
Around us, aprons of sand 
embroidered shores of saline oceans. 
Inland, grasses wove their tapestries. 
Grains, blades and salted pools mingle; 
reservoirs for creation, 
repositories for death. 
Silent is our 
morning's song, 
lost our morning's glory. 
The grasses, stilled by quiet winds sleep 
day-long now. Rays of crimson sunbeams 
like thorns, pierce 
the clouds of our despair 
as our dissonant cries fade 
into nothingness. 
1993 
For a close and loving relative. 


Windows 

Gather 
every morsel 
of hope, 
precious gift, 
and open your eyes 
to its wonder; 
common images 
earthly sights 
hourly routines 
that maintain 
the equilibrium 
of why and how 
you live 
and lived. 
Delight 
in what are your joys 
and then 
for just a brief moment 
let them close 
to the darkness 
and paint 
upon the canvass 
of your soul 
portraits 
of secret longings 
that come alive 
in these minutes 
of solitude 
called dreaming, 
art forms to dance 
from the palette 
as you revel in 
this secret world 
of unspoiled vision 
and immortal promise 
1993 
For a special friend who was a special person. When 
told me she had terminal cancer, I wrote this poem for 
her and gave it to her before her death. 


Obsidian 

My shrouded body 
lies interred in frigid 
caverns of blackness, 
as you mourn and fear 
the coldness of my death 
and the abyss 
of my nothingness. 
But neither barren 
nor alone nor pained 
am I, or will I be 
for as the midnight 
at full moon, I'll gleam 
God's light 
through all eternity. 
1994 
Written for a physician who died at the peak of his 
career. 


The Tree 

Be free 
Imprisoned one, 
Last remains 
Of a fallen tree 
Fractured by an 
August storm, 
Sapped and devoured, 
Hollowed from decay, 
Destitute of life's 
Precious humors. 
Debris encrusts your 
Body like a death shroud, 
Yet the poet knows your 
spirit, 
The artist your beauty. 
Be free. 
1993 
 


Rhapsody 
Gone are ten thousand days 
of perfumed winds 
bellowed from the 
lungs of God with 
gusts and drafts that 
scattered wandering seeds 
of despair, craving 
earthen roots to anchor 
their promise of reborn 
hope. 
1993 
Lines of profound past loss and future hope. 

 

Sorrow Fades 

Your cries sing of 
past sorrows, 
Sing no songs for me. 
For my heart lusts to 
live... tomorrow, And my 
soul longs to be free. 
No longer will angst 
befall you 
When at my birth you hear 
The cries I sing of life anew, 
And you kiss away my tears. 
1994 


The Morning Dove 

By reason unexplained 
came the wrath of nature's 
will and pain upon an olive tree, 
to cleave unequal its fair soul 
and hurl each fracture into 
stormy destiny. And as time 
and hope and prayer 
within an earthen womb 
nurtured tendril branches 
where buds and blossoms bloom, 
I cried, for I was first to 
see a morning dove bear a leaflet 
in the Spring and fly 
homewards... for eternity. 
1994 
For a mother and newborn both critically ill at birth 
but in time were healed. The newborn, Jacob, was 
delivered at twenty four weeks gestation and weighed 
one and one half pounds at birth. I witnessed his growth 
to four pounds when he left the hospital for home. 



Sean 

The moon's thin crescent 
casts dim spears 
of speckled light upon the 
path I walked this night 
with your hands in mine. 
And although darkness 
hovers close above our bodies, 
warmed with dew's sweet tears, 
you turn you eyes to mine 
to see the embers shine 
and burn to ash all despair 
within the abyss of my soul 
and praise tomorrow's scented air 
I breath, for now my body's whole. 
1994 
For a brave young boy who went through successful 
neurosurgery. 

 

Spire 

From oblivion to infinity 
without origin or finality, 
our minds petrify like fossils 
ancestral passions 
to consummate all life's promises, 
while above us windsongs cleave 
one cloud in two, 
two to four, four to eight 
and create 
infinite dispersions 
so we may see 
stars flicker, 
moonbeams' shadow 
sentinels for sunlight's travel, 
...and watchtowers for the treasures 
of eternal hope. 
1994 
Written for a friend's mother and sent to her when I 
learned she had surgery for ovarian cancer. 


Divus 

I loved 
the quiet time I spent 
when every heart beat 
you had sent 
to my flesh 
and to my skin 
flowed forth to bring 
me peace within 
your silent womb, 
...I loved the silent time. 
And even as 
my tiny heart 
labored at death's call 
before my start 
at birth and life, 
and as I ailed, 
soon no longer 
to inhale 
or feel your pulse to mine, 
...I loved the quiet time. 
My body now 
apart from yours, 
still lives, yet not 
upon your shores, 
and suffers not 
nor is in pain 
for within 
its new domain 
I can love the quiet time. 
...I loved the quiet time. 
1994 
Divus is the Latin expression for a Godlike, 
blessed memory. This poem was written for and given to a 
patient whom I had not met- until she came into labor 
and was found to have fetal demise. 
 

Yekhida

Thee,
I've touched
and kissed,
and loved you...
... now I
float in
clouds
above you.
Memories
please me
from my
past
transparent shadows
purely
cast.
Though my
corpse
on earth
remains
My spirit lives
in this
domain... 

...And like a rose 
in desert's 
sun. 
A miracle 
is what 
I have 
become. 
1994 
A prayer of hope for immortality. In the Kabballah or 
study of Jewish Mysticism, Yekhida is the ultimate 
union of the soul with the essence of the Divine. 


The Mist 

When winter's gloom succumbs, 
and grief melts in the sun, 
warm currents on my breast will stream, 
and turn frosted tears to sunbeams... 

Sadness moistens my brow like 
mist. Silent tears coalesce upon my cheeks. 
Petrified by the cold of winter, 
Forgotten by the spring thaw, 
I shiver and feel lost 
in this the season of my sorrow. 
Loss has embraced me more than 
once, yet it has never seized me. 
Hope has been my reclamation, 
My emancipation, 
From the bondage of despair. 
Hope exists in the swelter 
Of summer and persists 
As the leaves fall in November. 
Hope thaws the snows of winter. 
Hope does not forget. 
1994 
Six pregnancies, one child. This poem is written for a 
wonderful and courageous mother and father, desperate 
to have another child in face of overwhelming, medical 
problems.
 

Volume 2


Evening's Song

I know the scents of evening's-light, 
The sweetness of its songs, 
And its taste of honeyed-dew 
That fills me as I watch it greet 
The fresh first light of dawn. 
I feel the silks of evening's-clouds 
Caress my weakened frame,
To the music of a symphony; 
Resounding, ringing, beating, singing 
Tearing at my pain. 
Beyond meadows, valleys, mountain-crests, 
River banks and streams,
I've known the joys of giving; 
Touching, caring, loving, 
For this is what I've dreamed.
As landscape's margins meld together 
As dusk seams itself with night, 
My body mends without it fearing:
...From the deepest darkness 
Comes the brightest light.
M.R. Berman January 23, 1995

A tribute to a colleague who is recovering from a bone marrow transplant as therapy for leukemia


The Covenant 

I am an artisan,
A painter of hues unfading 
To blend upon my pallet Infinite promise 
And emblazon on my soul 
A landscaped canvas
Stretched to infinity 
Between pillars of prayer. 

Neither stalked nor 
Conspired against am I. 
Only Fate has been my betrayer. 
And although the defenses 
Of my mortal flesh have weakened, 
The borders of my body 
And the cisterns of my soul 
Are strong, alive 
With pulses of blood
And liquors of hope. 

I will not lament 
Nor ask of this from you. 
I will not know defeat 
Or the wrath of any pain 
For I, like a solitary seedling 
That yearns to taste the falling rain, 
Know well that God's eyes alone 
Will shed but triumphant tears... 
...Upon my brow for me
And for my covenant of victory. 
M.R. Berman 1994 
Author's Note: After the defeat of her cancer, the patient for whom I wrote this poem conceived and delivered a healthy son ten years ago. Now she waits for heart transplantation surgery as her only hope for survival. This patient underwent her Heart transplant in December, 1995, and is currently recovering and doing well. 
(Entered, January, 1996)


Courtney

A wind rushes about me 
fueled by earth and sky 
to purify stagnant basins 
where thrives the praise 
of autumn's last remains, 
its gentle rain, 
its moonlit frost, 
the falling ocher leaves 
that cluster in brittle piles 
to blanket earthen roots 
whose petals now are lost... .
..and I, confined and desperate 
to smell the scent of pine 
adrift in winter's frigid winds 
in darkening December skies, 
about to touch the promise gleaned 
that now within me lies. 

October, 1994 

The anguish of many years of infertility and the near loss of this child from extreme prematurity inspired me to write this poem for my patient, about to deliver her daughter, Courtney. 


Longer Days 

Today, my senses are paralyzed 
In frozen chambers of dismay 
As in solitude I chant 
Silent notes of prayer. 
Like a leafless tree writhing, 
I long for blossoms 
At spring's first dawn 
When the brightest days 
Are longer than 
The darkest nights, 
When the breezes are warm, 
And the air is fresh 
With the scent of laurel, 
When climbs of roses 
Bring new hopes to bear 
And tears of time 
Drown my despair... 
...When oblivion is home 
To all my dismay. 
M.R. Berman 
February 7, 1995 
This poem was written for a patient who experienced abnormal bleeding from the onset of her long-planned pregnancy. Prental testing was carried out in an effort to establish the cause. A rare and fatal chromosome abnormality was discovered and she lost her pregnancy in her thirteenth week. 

Note: This patient completed her second pregnancy and delivered a healthy boy 
and is doing well. 

 

...Even The Stars Have Cried

In a room of silent tears
You gathered in your sorrow 
Hovered , hugged; 
Gazed bewildered; 
Asking "why I'll not live tomorrow?" 
In a room of silent tears; 
If I could, I'd cry; 
Out loud; To tell 
You of these moments 
Of why today I died. 
My lot was cast upon this hour… 
Which birth and death both share, 
Yet I understand the sense and reason: 
God calls; God loves; 
God cares. 
As I reside now in tranquillity 
As you grieve and say goodbye, 
Know you shed your tears 
With heaven's immortality, 
Yes, even the stars have cried. 

This poem is written for a young couple who lost a pregnancy at 23 weeks. Their baby lived for 3 hours but was hopelessly premature weighing less than one pound at birth. This couple just cpmpleted a healthy full term pregnancy. May 5, 1996 

 

My Heart Be Yours Forever

I make you both a promise In these my infant days, 
Half my heart be yours forever, 
The other for God- in praise. 
For he has blessed me with abundance, 
Granted more than I can give, 
Never will I feel dismay, ...Your love is why I live. 
When you hold me very close, 
Your pulse feels slow and sure 
Which calms the flutters of my heart 
And gives me hope that's pure. 
As my parents you are frightened 
That my tiny heart is frail 
That my body cannot endure assaults 
Fate to it assails. 
So I must tell you mother, father, 
I implore you...be assured 
Spirit transcends my adversities 
Horizons harbor my cure. 
December, 1995

For a baby, sydney, born for a serious congenital heart defect and who survived and is thriving today.
Her mother just delivered a second healthy newborn.



The Passing Tides 

I loved the river: 
Enchanting.
I loved the wind: 
Caressing.
I loved the daylight: 
Soothing.
I loved the starlight: 
Haunting.
I loved my ‘dear ones’: 
Being.
I am now all I loved: 
Blessing. 

Written for a long time colleague who succumbed to the very disease he treated.


Butterfly Breaths 

Every day awakens 
With kisses on your brow; 
With mist that veils the early light 
And hides the morning clouds. 
With butterfly breaths of longer days 
Where heard are fewer sighs, 
And echoes from a mountain's song, 
Dissolving plaintive cries. 
No longer will the seasons part 
The year; dividing into four. 
Now hours blend to days and weeks, 
Weeks to months, forever more. 
Every day awakens 
With visions of what's to be: 
Spheres full of joy and wonder, 
Timeless moments of Infinity. 
May, 30, 1997 
This poem was written for a young girl, Ariel, who is undergoing therapy for cancer of the kidney. 


Soraque
(A Primitive Philipine Song)

Winds drift on ephemeral wings 
To watch the sun's veil lift. 
Distant, darkened skies crack clouds. 
Humans cry outloud. 
As I kneel to meet my death 
Mortal and frail, I fall 
With ravaged mind abused 
And hide in temples 
Of immortal winter sequestered 
From one life's end 
To the end of all and wait 
As infinity becomes my soul. 
1994

 

Suri 

Earthen trails confuse in 
Lost loneliness of nightfall, 
Darkness that blinds 
My path is like shadows 
That fleet with the sun 
Rising and falling 
Appearing and disappearing. 
Yet in those aged fortressed forests 
Where loneliness and fear 
Bring profound blackness 
And where despair shivers 
Have I found my way
1994 


For Oliver, Born of The Sun 

Our senses light ephmeral
Like a mist whose song is sung 
Upon the glory of the dawn, 
And then moments, 
Even hours later 
Stretches towards 
The silvered profiles 
Of slivered moons 
To watch as scars 
Crevice the substance 
Of your heart 
And mark its passage 
To our love;
...And now we dream 
As tiny angel breaths, 
Warm with endless promise, 
Melt to spawn 
Infinite acts of faith.

August 16, 1997 


Return 

Return home 
Upon the long and winding road, 
Where etched is your pathos. 
You empowered the breeze 
To make shadows sway, 
Silent voices speak, 
And all grace rejoice. 
Return home 
Upon the long and winding road, 
Conjoined with faith, 
To dance among the boughs of spring. 

 

Obstare

I have stood here before
When birth deceived and
Surrendered to my hands
The very spirit and soul of humanity;
The essence of life, save life itself .
And I have touched before
The angle hair and silken skin;
A child lay bare, still and silent
In these outstretched hands
As my will cried out
To scream a breath of life
Into his pale lips
Now frozen in the mist
Of endless dreams.
Yet today I smile
As I have smiled before,
For from such drear
Comes a voice ;
A voice, so serene
That it transforms
The searing pain felt in
Our hearts into song;
Melting stones of sorrow
Into liquors of love,
Forever a memory
of our dear Child.

February 26, 1998

Obstare is the Latin root for Obstetrics
and means "to stand before"
 

 

Love Contained
for Andrew Ulrich and Joseph Mark

Music floats on streams
Of summer’s final breath
As rains of hope
Wash famine from my lips.
And now love contained
Within my marrow sleeps
And I am left to dream and wonder
While angst becomes my silent partner,
Dueling with the rain.

I love the music
Which floats on streams
Of summers final breath
And hear it even as
Sadness mutes its song.
For its rhythm is certain
As the pulse of my heart;
Its voice everlasting,
As my memory is long.

This poem was written for twin boys, Andrew and Joseph, who died before birth. 
 

Epilog

Birth 

I have seen the caul 
like honey glazed 
contain and bathe 
in sweet succor, 
kept watch as 
mother's wombs 
tear in pain to 
bear their child 
and then 
as if my first, 
stood aside and 
cried with awe at 
the birth, 
that quiescent harbor 
where life sings 
psalmic verses 
of calms and storms 
rains and draughts 
sun lights and dark nights, 
agendas to live on forever. 
1993 

This states best as I can the overwhelming emotion I feel, day by day as I attend births. 


Courage 

"Until the day of his death, 
no man can be sure of his courage" 
Jean Anouilh, Becket 
He was a being in search of his destiny, 
And with abundant virtues and dignities, 
He filled his days with endeavors of selfless devotion. 
A sage with a love for mankind, 
He cared for the needy with reverence. 
Though the sorrow we feel is deep, 
We must not share in his suffering, but 
Triumph over his death by committing our 
Hearts, our bosoms, and our most visceral spirits 
To profound purpose. 
Yes, stand tall, thy men of courage, 
For a leader amongst us has fallen. 
With gallant humanism, and valiant resolve, 
He leaves Our mortal plains and hills of despair 
To ascend his mountain peaks of glory. 
With his inspirations of vitality and hope, 
Everything was beautiful and good. 
We lament his short life, yet find comfort that 
His mortal being was but "a fleeting gleam" 
Between two eternity's of tranquil salvation; 
Be comforted; for now, His soul is at rest, 
Cradled in peace. 
1991 
Written for a friend and colleague upon his death. 

 


Andira 

Beneath their feet the parched leaves crack. 
Lifeless, fallen branches fracture. 
Wearily fathers hunt and search 
To mend the pains of endless thirst. 
A mother cradles to her chest, 
The newborn child upon her breast, 
And while gazing towards the cloudless sky. 
Asks why be born if now to die? 
Wasted by their arid land, 
Children beg with outstretched hand 
Their feeble voices impotent, 
To cry; A Death-Watch all too silent. 
Hunger cries but finds no ears, 
None to help their doleful tears. 
Impoverished people bearing sorrow. 
Starved today; entombed tomorrow. 
1993 
Andira is a genus of tropical tree found in Africa known as a "rain tree". This poem is written in memory of all children who have died and are dying from the ugliness of starvation. 




The Din 

a clamor. 
louder 
than the searing noise of 
jackhammers, 
trucks, motorcycles 
and the like, 
pains my ears: 
gunshots and sirens, 
screaming mother's tears. 
murdered teens- 
just children you know, 
dead now over some drug deal 
or gangland ego. 
a disordered, senseless waste 
of human life and vigor, 
granted to every person of every 
race, 
by god's decree 
of just equality. 
yet of those who escape 
the leaded missiles 
from wanton guns, 
or needles 
infected with contagion; 
of those not starved 
for food or love 
or for learning; 
nor for clothes 
or shelter or for yearning 
to have a solitary chance 
to breathe 
per chance. 
the fresh air of a country 
morning, 
i ask: 
"what is it you fear, 
what clamor do you hear?" 

1993 
For those who can see and feel and fear the horror calling at our doorsteps. 

 

Asclepidae 

From Hippocrates 
On whom we swore 
And Aesculapius 
Who thus bore 
Hygeia, we now 
With dutiful dedication 
Somehow 
Must manage to transcend 
A myriad of extrinsic forces 
With one purpose: to mend 
The bleeding and the cries 
Of our diverse patients' lives. 
We birth their children, 
Curette their wombs, 
Remove their tumors, 
And for those whom 
Maladies cause pain, 
We set upon a course of healing 
So that once again 
Their being is restored. 
But there is much more, 
So very much more. 
For the primal core 
Of what we dedicate 
Our time and strength 
Is not just to operate, 
Or to "stand before" and facilitate 
The births of tomorrow's children, 
But rather to provide 
True counsel; 
To advise and to guide 
Through the darkest paths 
In the deepest forests 
Of our patients lives. 
For when they face us, 
Stare, eye to eye 
And mourn their loss 
Of health, of parent or of child; 
When marriage dissolves into divorce, 
And depressive thoughts of suicide 
Bring them to us 
And us to their bedside, 
We must be skilled with more 
Than laser or with knife. 
We must be filled 
With integrity and 
compassion, 
The moral virtues 
of our life, 
And bring to the ill 
Comfort, sympathy and 
hope. 
1993 
The Asclepidae was the Greek Priest-Physician family of which Hippocrates was a member physician and surgeon. This is written as a plea for those medical students and residents who have chosen Obstetrics and Gynecology as their profession. 


Aoide 

The first song on earth 
Was a child's cry, 
A canticle of absolute beauty. 
Each note a bequest for eternity; Ageless 
music of heartsounds 
And first-breath sighs 
To immortalize 
The promise of humankind. 
1993 
Aoide is the Greek Muse of Song. These lines are a dedication to the labor and delivery suite of Yale- New Haven Hospital where I practice. 
 

Decent...Ascent 

My face droops, chiseled 
with furrows of sadness. 
Eden is no longer. 
Trust teeters 
tenuously in anonymity. 
Ignorance, 
Poverty, 
Desperation, 
Cohabit; irrational and violent. 
Sickness lusts. Death waits. 
I tremble 
Yet, steadfastly will I climb, 
season to season, 
for a lifetime, 
amidst tendril roots and ragged 
crevices, 
in search of reason, 
and when weary and my flesh aches, and 
heart hypoxic hungrily palpitates, 
my sight dims 
and body falls painfully sick, 
I'll travel obscure atmospheres 
glancing back to see 
past images appear 
of life's fine threads and 
loves unspooled, with 
unimagined clarity 
and pause, alone 
upon the threshold 
of my empyrean home, 
and whisper prayerful 
thoughts 
to heal my wounded soul. 
1993 
Despite anguish, pessimism and oppressions , there can be discovered wonderment and hopeful optimism throughout the course of our lives. 
 

Secret Wonders
For Elizabeth

Born silent, born still,
With the beauty of an angel,
Elizabeth passed from my waiting hands,
Into the hearts of her parents.
First breath, last breath,
Breathed within
A body full of love;
Youthful, hopeful, anticipating.
Now a body full of sorrow.
Elizabeth…a mother’s child,
Embraced by three mothers,
Gave tiny footprints, inked mementos of
What might have been.
Yet as with life itself, we are
Guided by fleeting moments of
Sweetness remembered
And promises dreamed.
The veil of death’s darkness
Will disappear like melting snows
In springtime.
Mercifully, prayers will turn
Cries into song,
Loneliness will fade.
Life will move on.
Elizabeth has touched us all.
But her death will not harm us,
For she has summoned the secret wonders
Of what means love.
And we have now become her children.

November 1, 1999
 

 

Vernalis
Belonging to the Spring

Undaunted, I greet the paradox of spring.
I dream …of golden notes
Floating in the silent night.
Joys of breaths and heartbeats
Simple passions of delight
Sing on winds diaphanous,
Of the glory of the bloom
Which never disappointing,
Soon, bathes all beloved
With perfect hope.
It is the season of opulence
When sweetness obscures
Dark halls of winter's liar
And dew upon the grasses
Cast light of morning's hour
Into the windows of the soul
Where fragments of loveliness…
Of love, coalesce
Into being,
Magnificence.
For a beloved friend.
In Brief Moments
From Luke
In brief moments
I opened my eyes
When you,
My source of life,

Were near;
And glimmered
At your love with fear
That the cries I saw
Were sentinels
For grief,
Without relent;
And that each
Would smother

The breaths
Of joy you sent...
To me
Before my birth.

But as they closed,
Perhaps to rest,
A vision did my
Mind digest,
Then turned my grimaces
To smiles.
For what I saw
Was but the flow
Of love's liquour
Upon ageless
Hopes and dreams,
To nurture voiceless souls;
Sure reminder of our
Inviolate bond…
Never to perish
Or be forgotten,
In my brief moments
And beyond.

August 25, 1999


Memnon

My tears are watermarks
Which imprint forever
Sentient reminders of gentle hopes
And dreams subdued.
Extant in painful thought they are
And sleep afar
In caves of ancient echoes
Wailing for my perished child
Who now guised in angel's silk
Sings madrigals of sweet delight
And turns my tears heavenward
To drift peacefully into the
Forgiving canyons of winters night.

Memnon, the son of Eos, Goddess of Dawn,
who mourned his death by weeping every morning.
This poem is written for a colleague's daughter,
born still.


The Drought
For Alison

I am drowned in drought,
Absent words.
No answers.
I extract painful whispers
From barren mouths of darkness.
Of songs, lost in the mire of
Forsaken dreams,
I hear nothing.
My womb has become an abyss.
My heart an empty vessel.
Yet,
The evanescence of my sorrow
Carries melancholia aloft on wings
Of forgetfulness.
Leaving love and life
To feel forever.
To remember always.


Rubicon
For my daughter


i.
Our home is
Filled with love,
And you.
Flowing.
A caress of the sea.
Sweet.
A chant of the wind.
Glowing.
Electricity in our veins...
Pride
Bright dreams.
Promise.
On mountains draped
With mist;
Mystery.

ii.
Freely
Fly with butterflies.
Love gardens;
Love deeds,
Worth,
Compassion.
Ensheath yourself
With the garments of humanity:
Morality.
Hope.
Beauty.
Let aspersions of the moment, melt.
Savor peaceful dreaming,
A silent poem,
A mellow thought.

Commence and share.
Plant flowers
In arid air
Where misfortune breathes.
"Guide seekers to the land of bliss."
Begin each day with a kiss
Be aware.
We Love you.

June 11, 1999
Note: The Rubicon is a small river
in Northern Italy. When you cross the
Rubicon, you set upon a course from which
there is no turning back


Distant Sunsets
For Cynthia Rose

We look to distant sunsets,
Where muted dreams are dreamed
And searing pain's extinguished
To learn that in the silence
We can still hear music play,
Velvet notes which cushion
Every thought of darkest sorrow,
And believe despite our pining
There will live in distant sunsets
Forever thoughts of you today
And in our muted dreams tomorrow.
Cynthia Rose, parent's third consecutive loss...
 

Hesed
For a beloved caregiver

You are a muse of healing.
Your hands
Like summer meadows,
Catch silent silhouettes of
Gentle breaths which caress
Forsaken hearts
To dance about again,
While instruments of
Sunlight stream
On fragile leaves of promise.
…And in quiet shadows
Of peaceful dreams,
Play duets of hope and affirmation
Uplifting curtains of uncertainty.

Hesed. In the discourse of Jewish Mysticism,
the human hand becomes analogous to Hesed or
"grace" which is symbolic of one who performs a
mitzvah.


Tiferet

In prayer I plead return,
And in dream, awaken!
I fall to stare at gleaned grasses
scattered about forgotten fields,
singed by a senseless lot,
and thirst to cry forever.

Yet,
I will not be draped
in the blanket of loneliness called solitude.
For deaf of song and absent of vision
of who I am and who are my children,
its veil will descend, then disappear.
We are "alive together".

The margin between breath and breathless
is narrow, like twilight and darkness.
Moments of simple thoughts
become ageless memories.
There is triumph to taste,
love to embrace;
havens of hope to inhabit.

Soon, the curtains of chaos
will rise with the setting stars
as memories of joy
bond with joy itself
and I will smile once more,
at last to breathe a painless sigh
of what is love.
April, 1999

Tiferet, in the discourse of Jewish mysticism
is one of the ten Sefirot and represents
beauty, harmony and truth. 
Written for a friend, father
and husband.

 

Rivulets
For Lil

These are days of tears;
Mist from souls of friendship,
Prayers from bottomless hearts.
Love ripples the silence of fear
Like stones dropped in tide-less ponds,
To carry hope beyond infinity
And dance among the sunshine and blossoms
Of ordinary days, while
Waves of virile uncertainties
Spawn rivulets of faith.
Reason probes for reason.
Yet there is elegance
In the threads of our destiny:
Simplicities of truth entwined
With the complexities of why?
Woven from the sweetness of our moments,
They become the fabric of our being.

Transition begets renewal.
As seasons fuse,
Darkness of long winter nights
Becomes an apparition.
Life burgeons, promises mature,
Inspirations thrive and
Fortune ascends on the
Vapors of despair until
despair exists no longer.

May, 1999



Erinyes

What I am, I am.
My afflictions are my affections.
My chaos, civility.
Tides pause, breaths sigh.
Those who dream, dream.
While I with pleasure cast
Ravages and travail obscene,
To a venomous sea, to shatter
Upon the cliffs of despair,
Forgotten forever
As I travel, un-traveled avenues
Of promise.

April, 1999
In Greek Mythology, Erinyes is the avenger of wrong.
betsy sabga

 

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