Tag Archives: Helen Bar-Lev

New Feature: In Loving Memory…Tom Berman from Israel.


Acco port in rain by Helen Bar-Lev

The World Poetry Cafe Radio Show with hosts Ariadne Sawyer MA and Israel Mota  welcomed a new host in training, Vivian Davidson. A special third poem celebrating the World Poetry Canada International Peace festival by UBC by World Poetry Award Winner Oswald Okaitei. To HEAR THE RADIO SHOW, CLICK HERE!

 A new  special featured is: In Loving Memory for thoses who have “Gone Home” (African saying)  for  the poet  Tom Berman.  It includes  a poem by him called the Leather Suitcase.  In addition World Poetry Member Helen Bar Lev wrote a poem about her friend Tom Berman.  

In Loving Memory:

From the end of 1938 until the outbreak of War in September 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. This poem won a High Distinction award in the 2006 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest sponsored by Tom Howard Books. Author Tom Berman received a $100 award. Winning Writers assists this contest. Copyright is reserved to the author. 

Tom Berman has been a member of Kibbutz Amiad in the Upper Galilee, Israel for over 50 years. He grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, having arrived there aged 5 from Czechoslovakia with the Kindertransport in 1939. He is a scientist whose poetry has been published here and there, now and again, and was Editor in Chief of the annual Voices Israel Anthology from 2003 to 2006. Amazon.com is still trying to dispose of a book of his poems (Shards: A Handful of Verse). He was married with one wife, three daughters, seven granddaughters, one grandson and one dog.

Here is his poem:


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.

Tom Berman (C) With permission.


Helen Bar-Lev

Here is the beautiful poem written by World Poetry Member and one of the free gift poem donners for the recent World Poetry Canada Interantional Peace Festival at UBC. She is also in the free WP E-Anthology listed on this site.


Mild-natured man
you discussed
neither your professions
nor politics
for us you were
only the poet

But you were also
with modest partitions
that separated your knowledge
into segments
much like the creatures
that fascinated you –
chameleon, iguana,
seahorse, flounder,
you blended into
which ever environment
surrounded you

You were one
with the dogs you walked
the cats you fed
the land you tread
a poem in your hand
humour in your eyes
so human so gentle

How could you die?

© 4.2013 Helen Bar-Lev

We would like to send good thoughts and caring to the family and friends of Tom Berman.
If you have a loved one that has passed on, please send the information to ariadnes@uniserve.com and we may be able to include it in our new feature.