Coming of Age

April 9, 2021
Richard M. Berlin, MD

"... unconscious as hope that we sense around us now borne back into the earth..."

Richard Berlin shares poetry from his mentor, poetry editor, and friend, Barry Sterlieb.

Sternlieb's full poem "Coming of Age" can be found below:

In low sun at the tundra cabin

we feed gray jays by hand.

The kitchen is stocked

and water hauled.

Anything undone can wait.

It’s good to see ourselves

as no one else, up here alone,

higher than quiet can say.

Late sky deepens, but light

covers ground, still on the move

past alder and spruce, fragile

muskeg, and staggered peaks.

With blue precision, matter

comes of age in small offerings

which seem to realize life

like a wild mother

who even before she prods

the blind cub to nurse

speaks to it in a secret tongue,

sudden sounds escaping her

unconscious as hope

that we sense around us now

borne back into the earth.

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.