Untitled Poem by Harry V. Gelboin (Tzvi Hersh Gelboim)


I am an
expanding
universe and
a burning contracting sphere
a comet
burning itself
out of the
heavens
a heart
becoming
the nothing
of infinity


Dr. Harry V. Gelboin was born Tzvi Hersh Avigdor Gelboim in Chicago on December 21, 1929. Harry’s parents were Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia, coming to the US after encountering hardships in Europe before and during WWI. His first language was Yiddish. A research scientist and chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis at the National Cancer Institute of NIH, he created a library for his lab, making a space for people to congregate and share ideas in an informal setting. He came to NIH in 1958 and was still doing research and publishing after his retirement in 2000. Walking in nature played a vital role in his life, noticing what was sometimes overlooked –– like the architecture of trees in winter. A city boy turned avid gardener, he proudly shared his harvest. He enjoyed recounting adventures abroad while attending scientific meetings, laughing at his own foibles. Throughout his life, he penned many poems, essays, and stories (most of them handwritten) while authoring or co-authoring hundreds of lectures, books, and scientific papers. His spirit continues to illuminate and inspire.

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