Have you ever tried meditation?
Struggling hard to concentrate,
and keeping your mind as blank
as a whitewashed wall by closing
your eyes, nose, ears; and shutting out
every possible thought. Every thing.
And, the only failure, that ever came,
the only gross betrayal—
was from your own skin.
                    You will have known this.

Do you still remember,
how, the first distractions arose?
And you blamed skin as a sinner;
how, when your kundalini was rising,
shaken, you felt the cold concrete floor
skin rubbing against skin, your saffron robes,
how, even in a far-off different realm—
your skin anchored you to this earth.
Amidst all that pervading emptiness,
touch retained its sensuality.
                    You will have known this.

Or if you thought more variedly, about
taste, you would discount it—as the touch
of the tongue. Or, you may recollect
how a gentle touch, a caress changed
your life multifold, and you were never
the person you should have been.
Feeling with your skin, was
perhaps the first of the senses, its
reality always remained with you—
You never got rid of it.
                    You will have known this.

You will have known almost
every knowledgeable thing about
the charms and the temptations
that touch could hold.

But, you will never have known
that touch – the taboo
to your transcendence,
when crystallized in caste
was a paraphernalia of
undeserving hate.

(First published in Kavya Bharati)


5 responses to “Touch

  1. Pingback: Index of poems « Meena Kandasamy’s Poetry

  2. I came across your blog and poetry page accidentally (just blog surfing).

    This is a powerful poem.

    Thank you for fleshing out in such swift, skillful and eloquent fashion what has been the underlying and defining core of the idea – the idea of touching and touchability, the idea of pollution by touch – that has been used to create maintain an abusive identity and discrimination against a group of people on a civilizational scale for so long.

  3. I read many of your poems…and found that I kept clicking for more. This one is remarkable…congratulations!

  4. A great reflection of thoughts. I love the last stanza!

  5. Pingback: Poems I read at Shillong « Meena Kandasamy

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