n e w s, t h o u
g h t s a n d m o r e .
. . m y b l o g
July 24, 2012
After more than 35 years
practicing Obstetrics and Gynecology in the New
Haven Community, and 39 years at Yale-New Haven
Hospital / Yale Medical School, I have joined
the full time faculty at Beth Israel Medical
Center, New York and have been appointed the
Medical Director of the Labor and Delivery Unit.
In this capacity I will supervise the
overall medical care on the labor floor, lead
its quality and safety initiatives, provide
oversight to resident and medical student
education and establish a full-time laborist /
hospitalist program. I will continue to pursue
my work and special interest in the area of
perinatal loss and bereavement though my
ambulatory faculty gynecology practice at Beth
Israel's Phillips Ambulatory Care Center.
A poem to mark my
Respice, et Prospice
Look backward and forward
Passion remains, privilege endures,
while life and lifeless,
each lifted by my hands, coexist.
On journey long, journey full,
with origins beneath golden skies,
I strive to heal, diminish fear;
making real, priceless promises of life each
And yearn…for it is not time
to reach the edge where breath beats
and heart sighs succumb,
still from imagination and contribution
nor where dreams drop to stagnant pools,
ripple towards silted banks then disappear
into crevices carved by debris
and rain and all things natural.
Not time to leave visions
of reformation, reclamation;
to leave pathways lit by opportunity
covered with vines of spirit
and climbs of renewal.
But a time of great hope.
Hope to affect lives, teach tenets,
create paradigms; counsel, care, mentor,
affirm a promise; a fate perhaps
as fortitude, my foundation of resolve,
rushes in my blood, every pulse a wave
approaching unfamiliar shores,
mighty and assured.
I will leave love behind
but will not lose it.
It will not fade to vapors
as common as fog
but rather guide me to be proud
of its wondrous years of caring and of healing;
years that turn now not to clouds but to earth,
To root something once unimaginable:
to marvel again and again
and by word and deed,
to create and bond
what means and brings for all, good life...
...a good birth and beyond.
beautiful spring morning, here
is a poem of Spring and of hope
to celebrate Mother's Day for
A Poem of Spring and of Hope
- Undaunted, I
greet the paradox of spring.
- I dream …of
- Floating in
the silent night.
- Joys of
breaths and heartbeats
passions of delight
- Sing on
- Of the glory
of the bloom
- Which never
- Soon, bathes
- With perfect
- It is the
season of opulence
- Dark halls
of winter's liar
- And dew upon
- Cast light
of morning's hour
- Into the
windows of the soul
fragments of loveliness…
- Of love,
- Into being,
- Michael R.
- © 2011 All
Update: Now into my second
year as a student of Biomedical Informatics at
the Oregon Health and Science University, I am
well entrenched, learning concepts about
healthcare information technologies(HIT),
organizational management and the ethics,
security and professionalism necessary for a
successful implementation of HIT.
April 2, 201
My daughter Stephanie and Eric's wedding
January 1, 2010
first day of the Decade, I would like to take
and excerpt a poem I wrote some time ago and
share it with you today
with hope and promise for the years to come.
…For you this is what I long:
to breath the air, hear a song
walk beneath some sapling pines
search a dream, slow the time
see truths distant horizons hide
float on waves at even-tide.
know a softly spoken poem
call our earth beloved home…
November 26, 2009
Happy Thanksgiving! As we all
enjoy our meals today, let us remember that
throughout the world, "Hunger cries..."
May 24, 2009
My daughter Annie and her
husband Seth's marriage
quotes and verse
"Each for himself gathered up
the cherished purposes of life;
its aims and ambitions; its
And flung all with life
itself the scale of battle." Anonymous
"The practice of medicine is
rooted in a covenant of trust among patients,
physicians, and society. The ethic of medicine
must seek to balance the physician's
responsibility to each patient and the
professional, collective obligation to all who
need medical care."
The Council of Medical Specialty Societies, 2000
Nihil Aliud Est Quam Animan Consollatio" A Latin
Proverb translating to:
"A Doctor is nothing bu the constellation of the
“Dedicate some of your life
to others. Your dedication will not be a
sacrifice. It will be an exhilarating experience
because it is an intense effort applied toward a
meaningful end.” Dr. Thomas Dooley
"Are you willing to admit
that probably the only good reason for your
existence is not what you are going to get out
of life but what you are going to put into it?
To close your book of complaints against the
management of the universe and to look around
for a place where you can sow a few seeds of
"Do you remember Dr Tom
Dooley? He said he learned his formula for
happiness the day a small boat pulled alongside
his craft carrying his first close-up glimpse of
SE Asia. On that boat were over 1000 refugees --
suffering from smallpox, terminal tuberculosis
and diseases he couldn't even name. Many of the
children on board were unconscious from the 115
degree heat. As the only doctor, Dooley attacked
this great mountain of suffering with a feeling
of hopelessness and despair. But before long, he
said, a strange excitement began to grip him. A
splint took the agony out of a broken arm, a
boil could be lanced, some vitamins could help
another. That day he learned he could be deeply,
joyously happy. I've always appreciated his
explanation for this happiness. He said he had
learned a fundamental truth about himself: he
was extra-sensitive to sorrow, and that when he
did something about it, no matter how small, he
couldn't help but be happy."
"Dr. Dooley held up in front
of the camera a tiny, ill, starving child with a
distended belly. Now, in the 1950s, such sights
were never seen on television, or in magazines.
It was shocking, and I recoiled emotionally. But
then he calmly said, in essence,“When you look
at this child you see something horrifying, but
I look at this child and know that I have the
knowledge and skill to make him well.”
-- Dr. Thomas Dooley, USN MD,
1954 - Supervised refugee camps to house fleeing
N Vietnamise, l959 - Diagnosed, Cancer, Returned
to Laos, 1961 - Died, age 34. From his final
book, The Night They Burned
"In the central place of
every heart there is a recording chamber;
so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope,
cheer, and courage,
so long are you young. .. Douglas McArthur on
"Be afraid of not growing old
Be afraid of standing still" Chinese proverb
We Are Seven
by William Wordsworth
A simple child...
That lightly draws its breath
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?
I met a little cottage girl-
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered 'round her head.
She had a rustic, woodland air
And she was wildly clad;
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
Her beauty made me glad.
"Sisters and brothers, little maid,
How many may you be?"
"How many? Seven in all," she said
And wondering looked at me.
"And where are they? I pray you tell."
She answered, "Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell
And two are gone to sea."
"Two of us in the churchyard lie,
My sister and my brother
And in the churchyard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother."
"You say that two at Conway dwell
And two are gone to sea,
Yet, ye are seven! I pray you tell,
Sweet maid, how this may be."
Then did the little maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the churchyard lie,
Beneath the churchyard tree."
"You run about, my little maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the churchyard laid
Then ye are only five."
"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
The little maid replied,
"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door
And they are side by side."
"My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit
And sing a song to them."
"And often after sunset, sir,
When it is light and fair
I take my little porringer
And eat my supper there."
"The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain
And then she went away."
"So in the churchyard she was laid
And, when the grass was dry
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I."
"And when the ground was white with snow
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go
And he lies by her side."
"How many are you, then," said I,
"If they two are in heaven?"
Quick was the little maid's reply,
"O master! We are seven."
"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!"
'T was throwing words away; for still
The little maid would have her will
And said... "Nay, we are seven!"
by William Wordsworth
To be yourself in a world
that is constantly trying to make you something
else is the greatest accomplishment.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Say not, they die, those
Whose life is winged with purpose fine;
Who leave us, pointed to the goals;
Who learn to conquer and resign.
Such cannot die; they vanquish time,
And fill the world with glowing light,
Making the human life sublime
With memories of their secret might.
They cannot die whose lives are part
Of the great life that is to be;
Whose hearts beat with the world’s great heart,
And throb with its high intensity.
Those souls are great, who, dying, gave
A gift of greater life to man;
Death stands abashed before the brave;
They own a life death cannot ban.
Memorial Tribute at the Evening of
Remembrance, Yale New
I am honored to be able to
participate in this service tonight as my heart
reaches out to all here tonight who have
experienced the loss of a child. While the death
of a baby is a catastrophe and a tragedy which
shatters good, secure and confident lives in a
matter of moments, the sharing of feelings of
such profound loss with one another at a service
such as this and beyond can actually beget a
One bereaved mother has put this in another way:
: “Strangers we may be, but we are all connected
by the loss of a child, and that makes us all
Like yourselves, countless mothers and fathers
and those close to them silently grieve with
little resolution over the loss of their
pregnancies, newborns and children. Seeking
reprieve from their sorrow, they cry and yearn
for solace and hope, many times for years
following their loss; cries that are but a muted
weeping of despair as a child so longed for is
not born, or is not born alive, or cannot be
conceived. Pained by these losses, their lives
seem devoid of hope. Yet they-you- prevail, for
within each of us is a timeless, enduring spark
of divine hope, a uniquely human greatness that
permits us to challenge adversity and
courageously face the unexplainable suffering of
our souls and bodies. To realize the existence
of this divine hope is a most cherished purpose,
for with it our lives have promise and reason.
Infertility, pregnancy loss, neonatal illness
and subsequent death are among the most painful
losses we can experience, for they deny us a
family and leave sightless our vision for
immortality through generations of the future.
Moreover, a child not born is likewise denied
the delight to revel in the simple beauty and
endless wonder of this divine hope. Memorial
services such as this, ceremonies and tangible
items of remembrance are vital for healing after
the untimely death of the child, born or yet to
be born. They give us permission to remember and
cry publicly as well as privately. Memories are
what remain of our lost children, invisible
bonds between mother father and child,
everlasting. Remembering and praising our lost
children can make darkness, visible.
Perinatal loss entails a "unique bereavement"
and is an "exceptional" type of loss, for a
child is not expected to die before his or her
parents. Across all cultures, the parent-child
relationship is and has been the most enduring
and significant. The natural processes of birth,
life and death should follow in an orderly and
rational sequence and through one’s lifetime.
Any death but death from "old-age" after a
"rich" and fulfilling life is premature. Yet
when parents like yourself see their child die,
or carry the burden of an unborn demise, they
live with this disruption of said natural order
forever. There has not been nor is there now one
common and standard way to manage the recovery
from such grief, for it’s shadow has been and
will be indelibly imprinted in the minds and
souls of these parents. Bonding between mother
and father and child or expectant child occurs
and must be recognized. Death tears this apart.
The issues of mourning, of lost promises, of
sadness and above all, of maintaining faith must
be addressed. The impact of these losses must
not only be recognized but must also be
"main-streamed" into our society.
We are at the threshold of an era when solace
and compassion for the deaths of these our
smallest and most vulnerable of patients are
being recognized more than ever before. I
believe the days when perinatal loss is
considered an unspeakable loss are waning.
I no longer see the stars; I am the stars.
I no longer breathe the wind; I am the wind.
I am the sweet smell of honeysuckle after an
I am the dew on the rose petals in early
I am harmony and I am peace.
I am love.
In sorrow, my mother and father cry,
But they need not fear. For I am strong.
My heart is whole and in union with my soul.
I understand my fate and I smile.
For nature's will is my destiny
And my guide through eternity.
June 10, 2008
For a friend and Colleague,
Hal, who just died from a long standing illness
In prayer we plead return,
Tiferet, in the discourse of Jewish mysticism
And in dream, awaken!
We fall to stare at gleaned grasses
Scattered about forgotten fields,
Singed by a senseless lot,
And thirst to cry forever.
We will not be draped
In the blanket of loneliness
For deaf of song and absent of vision
Of who we are and who are our children,
Its veil will descend, then
We are "alive together".
The margin between breath and
Is narrow, like twilight and darkness.
Moments of simple thoughts
Become ageless memories.
There is triumph to taste,
Love to embrace;
Havens of hope to inhabit.
Soon, the curtains of chaos
Will rise with the setting stars
As memories of joy
Bond with joy itself
And we will smile once more,
At last to breathe a painless
Of what is love.
is one of the ten Sefirot and
beauty, harmony and truth.
Michael R. Berman,
All rights reserved
December 31, 2008
Dear Friends and Family,
Ida has passed on.
Just twenty-four hours before she fell
ill, Mom, Bill, Debby, Nancy and I spent a happy
day with her.
Nancy, Annie, Stephanie and I were with
her during her final hours.
In death, Aunt Ida looked beautiful and
behalf of our entire family, thank you for your
kindnesses as Aunt Ida made her
transition to Connecticut a year and a half ago.
Some of you knew her, some of you have heard us
talk of her, but you all knew about her.
We are a small family, now
smaller, but we are extremely close. We will
miss Aunt Ida's wisdom, her counsel and her
love, but we will not miss loving her, for this
will go on forever.
Following is a poem dedicated to Aunt Ida upon
accept our sincere appreciation for your kind
and beautiful, compassionate and comforting
A Roman muse, counselor and advisor
“It is in these moments that we gaze upon the
is in these moments that Nature becomes our
the harvest is behind us
Yet as much, it lies ahead.
We plant our seeds even as the icy sun
Strains to warm the earth.
We prepare. We are sure the
Brilliance of the blossom will come to be
And the scent of the lilac tree briefly will
The early mist of springtime once again.
In this glory infinite, there will be
No longer mourning of what has been.
For I have loved and I love still,
A sister, a child
and another- and theirs-
Who walk distant frontiers,
To torch and fade despair
Into transparent exile...
Silhouettes emblazoned heavenwards
As I watch and turn a smile…
…and watched as ponds
And serpentine streams,
Relentless in their ebb and flow,
Carved channels of ancient thoughts and dreams
Like fossilized intaglio.
Yes I have lived and I have known
And traveled on northern trails,
And western peaks and pastel fields.
I have sensed the scents of daffodils
And the melodies of songbirds.
I have reveled in the excesses of my heart;
The splendor of the day;
The quietude at night;
Countless raindrops on countless petals;
Sunrises splashed in pink and white.
the harvest is behind us
Yet as much, it lies
Michael R. Berman
December 16, 2008
How swiftly the strained
of afternoon light
flows into darkness
and the closed bud shrugs off
its special mystery
in order to break into
as if what exists, exists
so that it can be lost
and become precious
Michael R. Berman, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
Yale University School of Medicine
Founder and President,