"Remember? Remember wanting to play every minute, as if that was why we were born?"

Any Good Poem

Richard Berlin, MD, shares Tim Seibles' poem "Naïve." Seibles was born in Philadelphia in 1955. He received a BA from Southern Methodist University in 1977, and taught high school English for 10 years. He subsequently received an MFA from Vermont College in 1990. Seibles is the author of 7 poetry collections and a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He was the poet laureate of Virginia from 2016 to 2018 and lives in Norfolk, Virginia.

Seible’s poem, “Naïve” begins with an epigraph from a Mennonite woman: “I Love you but I don’t know you” which he reports was the initial inspiration for "Naïve." Seibles says, “Just the idea that someone—in these times—could say, ‘I love you, but I don’t know you,’ simply touched my heart. Almost immediately, I began to think of my own innocence, much of it lost in adolescence. This brought to mind Dereck DeLarge, one of my best friends in elementary school. I hadn’t thought about him in probably forty years. We were such crazy bubbleheads, so much like puppies really. It’s hard not to wonder where such sweetness goes and what being an adult really asks of us.”

Dr Berlin has been writing a poem about his experience of being a doctor every month for the past 26 years in Psychiatric Times in a column called “Poetry of the Times.” He is instructor in psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts. His latest book is Tender Fences.

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