Silent and Solemn Spring

April 30, 2020

Why poetry? As the great Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai said, “When words fail, that’s when poetry begins.”

POETRY FOR THE PANDEMIC

Why poetry? As the great Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai said, “When words fail, that’s when poetry begins.”

I have had an experience this spring which many of you have probably shared: walking outside, and feeling the natural world spin on without concern for our human predicament. In his beautiful poem “Silent Spring” Ron Pies captures one of those moments. Among his many titles Ron is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine; and Editor in Chief Emeritus of Psychiatric Times. He is also a brilliant philosopher, ethicist, Jewish scholar, poet and writer.

Silent Spring

Slipping out of quarantine,
we walk hand in hand
by Dunback Meadow
into the nurturance
of pine grove
and Spring’s migrant birds:
warblers, kinglets, and vireos,
sweetly oblivious of virus
or the cold loneliness
of the solitary old.
Just past Clematis Brook,
we see a lone goose,
her belly pressed
against dun meadow grass.
Silent, still, bereft of mate,
she takes no notice.
But in the viral possibilities
that weigh upon us,
we take solemn note
of her.

Disclosures:

Dr Berlinis Instructor in Psychiatry at University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Poetry of the Times columnist.