Touch by Andrew Bell


hands for touch 1

As the air quivered with the first word,
flesh tingled with the first touch.

Through language and gesture, through lips
and limbs, as civilizations passed,

it kept coming .. And by the lineage
of our lost mothers, it was reborn anew.

For this first touch is our inheritance,
the wavelength that connects us, the spark

that unites us with the angel of our belonging,
the channel that brings our soul light

to our brothers. But now, as shadows gather,
we see moves to change the order of things.

Touch, once tender, like a rose petal,
sublimely generous, like its delicate fragrance,

is losing its loving presence.
Watered down by inhibition and fear,

it has become detached from its language
of warmth and affinity.

Teachers, parents, lawmakers:
let us not unwittingly nudge it out of our lives,

lest we cripple the human spirit.
And let us not steal it away from the lives

of our children. Protect them, but do not disable
them. Let us not connive in this climate of fear

or demonize touch, sparking hysterical responses,
debasing it in legal process. Let our children know

that this is not the natural order of things.
Then let us weave this sacred thread into the fabric

of who they really are, through empathy,
through the embrace or the caress, so that they may

in turn, do the same for their children.
And may we remind ourselves

that it is not a shell that we inhabit. Living
and breathing through this tender covering of skin,

we are forever the ambassadors of touch,
forever ready to attest to its healing qualities;

to bear witness to its light, to become a channel
opening up to what was always there.

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