The Naked Touch

a stony coldness
plucked from a beach
fills my palm and overflows into each
line and groove, pulling

fingers into a claw – like a ring
clasping a jewel

sensitive tips trace dents and pocks
knocked into it by waves and rocks
pebbled acne smoothed by human
caress, the stroke of skin

wrinkles, calluses and scars
whitlows, nibbled nails and blisters

this imperfect stone – not round
or egg-shaped – a weight found
to fit an empty hand
filled with my naked touch

Kim M. Russell, 13th November 2018

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My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Touch Me, also linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform

Sarah tells us that she went to a Sensory Integration workshop recently and, as part of the programme, took part in two activities which left her thinking about how important the sense of touch is, and how we disregard it. That’s why she wants us to focus on the feel of things and write a poem that has texture, temperature, heft, that conjures up a smooth wooden handle or a crisp cotton sheet, and really explores the sense of touch.

The subject of my poem is a large beach pebble decorated with a painting of Mojo as a kitten – painted by an ex-pupil.

42 thoughts on “The Naked Touch

  1. pulling
    fingers into a claw – like a ring
    clasping a jewel

    That’s a fabulous image. I really like this poem, Kim, I like the way the borders between your hand and the stone blur – is it your hand feeling the stone, or the stone feeling your hand? It’s so well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah’s point is well taken, the POV shifts, giving the reader lots of leeway for interpretation. Worry stones, like crystals, hold the power of the molten earth, the gravitational vibes, and it feels great to be caressed by those magic fingers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, this naked touch is so elemental in nature — both the grooves of the pebble and the hand in their intricate details merging into one and the other. I love this bit: “pebbled acne smoothed by human/caress, the stroke of skin”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great elements of touch in this poem … and fully understand where you’re coming from. Can’t resist pebbles! And possible more than meets the eye in this poem …. ‘a weight to fit an empty hand’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me, it’s the smooth solidity and knowing that they have been around such a long time – some of them could even be parts of meteorites. They’re elemental, carved by nature.


  5. “trace dents and pocks
    knocked into it by waves and rocks …

    We kind of hold “time” in our hands when we caress shells and rocks. I love beach walking and looking down at my feet, observing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve captured the ‘weight’ of the stone by your beautiful description of its origin. I also love this line: “pulling fingers into a claw – like a ring clasping a jewel”. There is so much to consider with the contrast of a claw and a precious jewel. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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