The Tao of Touch
What magic does touch create
that we crave it so. That babies
do not thrive without it. That
the nurse who cuts tough nails
and sands calluses on the elderly
tells me sometimes men weep
as she rubs lotion on their feet.
We touch each other so many
ways, in curiosity, in anger,
to command attention, to soothe,
to quiet, to rouse, to cure.
Touch is our first language
and often, our last as the breath
ebbs and a hand closes our eyes.
— Marge Piercy
from The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems, 1980-2010.
The first and fourth/last stanzas of Marge Piercy’s poem encapsulate for me one of the principal impulses behind the name of this blog. (There are myriad ways of touching and being touched beyond the physical, but without doubt, they all bloom from that UR-touch of the physical.) There are many images in my photo files that could illuminate her words, images of manifold human relationships. Yet when push came to shove, there was one predominant image for me of the intimacy, respect, tenderness, gentleness, sensuality, comfort, and confidence bound up in a loving touch: Rembrandt’s The Jewish Bride in the Rijksmuseum: