Other Poems by:

Tom Berman

Time Scales

Sometimes
stretching forever
to the never-caught curve
at the rim of the universe 
Then, telescoping to
femto-second flickers,
eons, mere blinks
of an owl's eye

Changing 
chameleon-like 
with the color 
of our days
time is not held
within the electron flux
of a quartz clock,
imprisoned in the swing 
of a pendulum
or locked 
in the languorous tolling 
of the sunday steeple
time does not run parallel

Mutable measure
of our circumscribed sojourn
in this continuum

Now swift, now slow
eventually,
for us, 
ended                     
       
A femto-second is a millionth -millionth of a second

Bedtime Idyll

You lie beside me 
quietly
turning the pages 
of your book

in vain
I seek to read 
between your lines
interpreting your breaths
in the silence
between us

slowly, 
you turn 
each page

our love 
spins by
idly
as on 
a reel-to-reel tape 

you close your book,
put out the light

Is it past midnight?

Creation

I was the youngest kid 
in the Yard
They said
"Betcha.
..can't make a Big Bang"

I did

By Golly-
Then there was Light
and all the rest of it
Galaxies, Stars
even a Black Hole
or two

Well, billions of them
but who's counting?

Then
there was all this stuff
called Evolution

Before I knew it
I had this Universe
on My hands

Thank goodness
it's vacation time 

But, you know,

I wish now
I hadn't banged 
that Bang

History

History is .

         i

passion made public

our days
dust of history's cloud
inconspicuous specks
in the eye 
of the beholder

         ii

a receding wake

astern
the turbulent waters
give no clue 
of our craft's
destination

          iii

a play writ large

cast of thousands
on a rotating stage
plot most confused
without promise 
of a happy end

           iv

a flickering screen

with sound and color
turned way up
it is not obvious
who switched on the set
or why He chose 
this channel

Dark matter, dark energy

How many ways 
to count the stars
in their galaxies
flung across 
eighteen billion 
light-years
since it all began?

Just when 
were the Laws of Physics
first posted? 
who read them then
to stir the brew primordial?

O grant us 
a sable understanding 
the missing nine tenths
of what we were given
when all was energy

before the comets spun off
their silken trails
and suns swept up their planets

and the green grass grew not
anywhere in a billion galaxies

Scientists have posited recently that dark energy
makes up about 75% of the Universe, dark matter about 21%,
and visible matter only about 4%

Love poem

What I need is a literary hammer
something to beat and shape
these recalcitrant words
into meaning that will endure

A chisel would also be useful
to pare away the ambiguities
the equivocal varnish 
off the half-said, 
the intended, but not quite...

Language is an awesome thing
but often it is the unspoken word
or the blank page 
that means the most
when all is said and done.

That is the reason
why this is a love poem
with no words  

Family album

All the photos
are black and white
slightly out of focus
and curling 
at the edges

Looking at those
sepia snaps 
of other lives
affixed on pages
yellowing with the years

suddenly 
I comprehend
 
It is my life
now
that is curling
at the edges

To an unnamed colleague

Herewith
a phrase or two
exploding you
o bladder of pomposity,
filled with fatuity 
swollen, smirking sack 
balloon of bloated bombast,
caricature of self-esteem 

May my words be
as sharp shears
clipping off the wool
you've spun 
over the eyes
of your bemused beholders.

3 Haiku

	Dragonfly

Dragonfly hovers
shimmering evanescence
flashes, and is gone


	Thorns

Thorns in late autumn
casting sharp gothic shadows
on a dust-brown path

	Storks

My heart is happy
for today's sky is filled
storks northward flying

Yom Kippur, Upper Galilee

The day sits brooding
under a bare stone hill
summer parched
expectant for rain

time slows a pace

a breeze floats by
birds at their vespers
pray over fields
and patient woods

elsewhere 
in the news-real-world
events happen:
terror, floods
elections, football
mayhem and madness
all is flux
day to day

here, 
I listen
to the sky
and take comfort
in the falling 
of a leaf

Galilee Spring

Storks circling
with the thermals
rising on a blue sky
wings outstretched
spanning the seasons
as this Spring slips
gently into Summer

wild oats wave  
between purple thistles

poppies nod and shed
red petals, 
lupines glow sapphire

beyond the lawn
the kibbutz dogs run 
sensing a dry season
behind the bushes

green fades to brown
imperceptibly spreading 
over the hollyhock hills

A Toothsome Threesome of the Genus Crocodylidae

Crocodile

Log like in the swamps of memory
Wrapped in miasmic mists
Fearsome creature of inchoate fantasies
Omnivore, carnivore 
And ever-so-much more

Krokodil

You who blithely
Swallowed the sun
And left a generation 
Of Soviet children 
In the dark
'till rescued by the Bear

Croc

Nursery pea-green pet
Red of tongue
And multi toothed
Chewed up playmate
Of many daughters 
And puppy dogs

Ah sweet crocodile
How I love your
Oh so many 
Incarnations.

Silences

	i

last retreat 
of lovers,
erstwhile poets,
charlatans,
the perplexed
and the truly wise
of this world
who knowing speech
are speechless

is the end of wisdom
silence?

         ii

let me sense
the texture
of your silence

as the shifting moon 
passes offstage
and heaven leads on
to midnight 

let my fingertips
touch
the stillness 
around us

adrift
after many voyages

I seek safe harbor
on your silent island

Storks

at dusk
a stork speckled sky

storks are flying
to the northlands
as their generations
have taught them

they are flying
to the northlands
where hope 
and old nests await

light fades 
as silk
to evening

smooth sleek gliders
homing to the darkling woods
where secrets sleep
with the storks.

Imposter

I am the imposter
within the poet
imposing on your innermost
tweaking at your heartstrings
in the heat of summer
grinning to see 
how you react 
to my perceived
oh-so-serious façade

a malevolent imp
making free 
with others' emotions
positing good faith
laughing behind the bushes

crying to myself
when evening falls.

The Leather Suitcase

They don't                                        
make suitcases 
like that 
any more.                                         		
								
Time was, 
when voyage meant
train, steamship
distances unbridgeable
waiting for a thinning mail
weeks, then months, 
then nothing 

Time was, 
when this case 
was made
solid, leather,
heavy stitching
with protective edges
at the corners.

Children's train, 
across the Reich
stops 
and starts again...

Holland
a lighted gangplank, 
night ferry to gray-misted 
sea-gulled Harwich
again the rails
reaching flat across
East Anglia,
to London

in my bedroom
the suitcase,
a silent witness
with two labels

"Masaryk Station, Praha"
"Royal Scot, London-Glasgow"

Leather suitcase 
from a far-off country,
Czechoslovakia, 
containing all the love 
parents could pack
for a five year old
off on a journey 
for life.


*From the end of 1938 until the outbreak of War in Sept. 1939,
 about 10,000, mostly Jewish children (unaccompanied by
 parents or adults) were brought from Nazi-controlled 
Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Great Britain under the 
Kindertransport scheme. But for the Kindertransport, few, if any, 
of these would have survived the War.

Ocean vista, with gulls.

The wind is whirling the gulls
over a white-capped sea
here, where Pacific ends

On our westward way
we seek by this wild coast
what we know not yet

Only the echoing cry
of the circling gulls,
red-tipped beaks
glassy-eyed 
uncaring 
if they know, 
or know not,
what message is borne
on the wind's gusts
or rolls ashore
on the breaking waves
carried five thousand 
sea miles by an ocean pulse

The wind is chill

We clamber back
into the calm cabin
of our vehicle,
head south

Perhaps,
tomorrow,
we may be wiser
than the gulls.

BIO:

Tom Berman :I have been a member of Kibbutz Amiad in the Upper Galilee, Israel for over 50 years. I am a scientist (aquatic microbiology) and most of my research has been focused on the Sea of Galilee (known here as Lake Kinneret). I grew up and attended school in Glasgow, Scotland having arrived there aged 5 from Czechoslovakia with the Kindertransport in 1939. Further education was in the U.S. at Rutgers University and at M.I.T. I am married with one wife, three daughters, six granddaughters, a grandson and two mongrel dogs. Most of my publications to date have been scientific but now and again I have had a poem appear in press (Ariel, Voices Israel, Full Circle, Voices from Israel, Travelling, Across the Long Bridge, The World Poets Quarterly) or on the Web (Poetry Webring Review, Poetry Life & Times, Ariga, Poeticdiversity, Poetry Super Highway, SubtleTea, The Coffee Press Journal, Lily, Poetrysuperhighway, Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry, Illiterate Hooligan, The Poetry Victims and elsewhere). Amazon.com are still trying to dispose of my first book of poems (Shards, a Handful of Verse). I have just completed a 3-year stint as Editor in Chief of the annual Voices Israel Anthology.

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