Bear Spotting


A bear under the snow turns over to yawn. It's been a long, hard rest.

Richard Berlin, MD, shares poetry from James Wright, paralleled by poetry of his own. The full poems can be found below.

by James Wright

A bear under the snow
Turns over to yawn.
It's been a long, hard rest.

Once, as she lay asleep, her cubs fell
Out of her hair,
And she did not know them

It's hard to breathe
In a tight grave:

So she roars,
And the roof breaks.
Dark rivers and leaves
Pour down.

When the wind opens its doors
In its own good time,
The cubs follow that relaxed and beautiful woman
Outside to the unfamiliar cities
Of moss.

Two Crises I Didn’t Train For

Telepsychiatry makes it easier for psychiatrists to treat patients by eliminating the need for either party to travel, with services provided from the safety and comfort of the psychiatrist’s home.

 - a Telepsych website

I can still hear my patient shriek

when a black bear appeared on camera

behind me, circled the rose garden sundial,

and reared up to study one small human

shielded only by a sunroom screen,

three hundred feral pounds of muscle

and claw, almost as frightening

as a virus a tenth of a micron wide.

Dr Berlin has been writing a poem about his experience of being a doctor every month for the past 23 years in Psychiatric TimesTM in a column called “Poetry of the Times.” He is instructor in psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA.

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