Mental Health, Poetry

Wrightsville Beach at Dusk

Clouds settle, tide rolls in,

washes up remains of the day.

Salty breeze blows hair.


Christmas street lamps awaken,

sand dollars and sailboats sparkle.

My mind photographs the pier.


Sandpiper stands through foam,

calm as night’s curtain falls.

Heart longs for his stillness.


Shari Elizabeth Berk

December 25, 2015

Wilmington NC

pier at dusk
Being a Writer, Poetry

Stress and the Art of Healing


Holiday cheer with service dog here:

I can writing standing up,

I can write with a cup

of egg nog spiked with rum,

radio plays of little boy’s drum

as the warmth of booze soothes

unnecessary roughness of the day.

Alcohol takes away memories

too bright, too dark,

drink away stark past, make liquor last

add more as needed.

Leave thoughts unheeded:

the year almost at an end,

my mind’s prism bends

reality to my will,

when all is still, perhaps

(another day) find another way

to cope with life.


Shari Elizabeth Berk

December 1, 2015

Goldsboro, NC

dog training, Mental Health, Poetry

Training a Beauceron Puppy

Isa’s soft eyes watch for cues,

barely six months old, halfway to one hundred pounds.

Sits on command, leaps for a hug.

On two back feet, she reaches my shoulders;

irresistible full body embrace of warm puppy breath.

Intelligence shines, counterpoint to joy,

eager to experience

car rides, ear scratches, mud romps.

Isa reminds me how much I learn

from those I lead.

Shari Elizabeth Berk

Goldsboro, NC

November 9, 2015

Isa hug

dog training, Mental Health, Poetry

Stray Dog (Late October, Orlando, Florida)

Abandoned Chihuahua reminds me

I cannot save every one.

Sweet and perky, deserves a life

of treats, kindness, soft touches, warm bed.

Some days I barely keep my head above the sinkline,

dawn brings another chance to get it right.

My heart doubts this stray pup will make it;

I have no miracles in me.

Compassion does not save lives.

Hold tight to threads that bind me to hope

as this thread slips through my grasp.

He is gone the next morning.

Shari Elizabeth Berk

Orlando, Florida

October 19, 2015

dog training, Poetry

Buddy : Sunday in the Backyard

labor day Buddy

Buddy stops, drops and rolls in newly mowed grass,

long black body languid in late summer sun.

Rights himself, shakes off loose blades,

sniffs several bushes. Finds relief on chosen shrub;

not before marking several for future perusal.

Points like a tiny sporting setter at a backyard squirrel,

eyes small birds, but gives no chase:

Mexican standoff between chihuahua and nature.

Shari Elizabeth Berk

September 22, 2015

Goldsboro, NC

Mental Health, Poetry

Meeting the Horses at a Farm in Clinton, NC

LaFayette plays with toothy mouth

I never saw a horse laugh with such delight.

I tickle his teeth, he nips my hand:

share moments of silly glee

this massive beast, so gentle in humor,

in humour. We share jokes for the first time

like old friends.

MacGuyver  eyes you from the side,

lets you know it’s okay  to come close

for a long stroke of chestnut brown cheek.

He plays coy, but his affection is genuine,

freely given. He mocks my past fear

of horses as if he had his own timidities.

I feed him apple cinnamon treats:

we win each other over.

Shari Elizabeth Berk

August 31, 2015

Clinton, NC

Being a Writer, Poetry

Summer Twilight at Creekside

lula iris 2

Poetry spawns from our four mile stride

around the block. We walk our dogs

through thick August air. Gnats

fuss our faces, fur-friends meet

and greet as we discuss pack dynamics,

swap recipes, trade gardening tips.

I learn about “spurge,”

my mind drifts to a giggly place

plays with words, “a scourge of weeds”

We turn the corner of our last lap

Spectacular splash of sunset

washes the sky past the highway.

Shari Elizabeth Berk

August 26, 2015

Goldsboro, NC