Two Hundred Thousand

Richard M. Berlin, MD

Psychiatric Times, Vol 38, Issue 1, Volume 38, Issue 01

A faceless full moon glowing through a cloud, contorted like the tree . . .

POETRY OF THE TIMES

-from the photograph “Stark Tree, 1956,”
by Wynn Bullock

Fall arrived too early, swamp maples ablaze
in August, Summer Rose apples withered
by drought, smoke from California fires graying
Berkshire sky to winter, and two hundred thousand

of us killed by virus, our landscape as foreign
as Bullock’s silhouettes of two hills and a valley
filled with moonlit fog, one stark tree
in the foreground, tortured limbs

and spiny black branches, a vulture’s nest
woven into the highest fork, threatening sky
with a faceless full moon glowing through a cloud
contorted like the tree, mist riding wind

with its damp smell of decay, inhuman
forces hard at work in their own time and place.
-Richmond, Massachusetts, 9/22/20

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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