Using the award from my first book of poetry, I established The Gerald F. Berlin Creative Writing Award at the University of Medical School in memory of my father. For more information about the award, including the prize-winning submissions, please click here.
Doctors need poetry to bring them closer to their patients. But even as I write these words I can hear my colleagues groan, “There’s an AIDS epidemic, I can’t afford my malpractice insurance, the obstetricians have stopped delivering babies, and you’re going to tell me I need poetry?”
I will say healer, priest,
turner of textbook pages,
searcher, listener, arrogant crow
costumed in white, reflecting moon.
My name is scared and distant
and sometimes too tired to care.
I am death’s reluctant lover,
a child’s guide, mother, father
hero and fool,
and if you like it simple,
doctor will do.
Einstein’s happiest moment
occurred when he realized
a falling man falling
beside a falling apple
could also be described
as an apple and a man at rest
while the world falls around them.
And my happiest moment
occurred when I realized
you were falling for me,
right down to the core, and the rest,
relatively speaking, has flown past
faster than the speed of light.