Barry Blackwell: In Gratitude




Here was a particular, singular,

Hungarian man.

Who shed the toil and shackles

of World War Two,

fled them, shunning turmoil,

sought safe harbor on Canadian soil.

Leaving Fascism, Communism, Antisemitism behind,

pursuing gentler prospects for the mind.


A philosophy blind to prejudice and hypocrisy

tuned to more poetic parameters.

Blending wise ideas of others with his own,

all voices heard, nothing smothered, absurd or weird,

 yielding shared and generous compromise.


Tom’s productivity was profound,

never loudly displayed or pompously portrayed.

Hundreds of books, thousands of papers,

ideas old and new, topics skillfully defined.


Early on, honest and true, many drug studies for ECDEU.

Long before industry picked the locks and stole the store,

then bribed KOL’s to hock their shoddy lore.


Tom’s milestones remain, parameters for keen minds.

The ten volume Oral History of Psychopharmacology,

self-professed true tales told by pioneers, pre-2011,

many now long gone, lodged in heaven.


Then INHN, post-2013, an internet screen devised by Tom,

comprised of biographies, controversies, discoveries, books and more.


These twin milestones set the dates and topics

within which Tom invited me to participate.

From the joy and triumphs of the early era

to the sorrow and insights of modern times.

We shared our thoughts and doubts weekly or more often.

Tom taught, I learned, he earned my gratitude.

Thank you, Tom!


Now Tom’s guiding hand is gone

 here’s hope and wishing well

for willing folks who carry on.


February 17, 2022