Photo by Candia Dixon-Stuart
My English teacher used to advise us to remember all five senses when we
wrote a descriptive essay, said Clammie, as she sipped an aromatic brew in
Costamuchamoulah must-seen cafe.
Yes, I replied. We often forget to mention taste and touch.
I love the smell of coffee in here, don’t you? Not so keen on the aurally
excruciating skoosh of the machine, though.
I rummaged in my handbag and took out a notebook with Thomas
Hardy’s face on the cover. It was one of a series of Famous Writers–
I think I had Jane Austen and Charles Dickens too, but that is by the by.
Another friend had been delighted to note when I took it out of the fluffy
depths to refer to some scribbles, that a panti pad cover had come loose
from its contents and the emergency sanitary saviour had stuck firmly to
the grand old man’s face. She said it served him right. Not sure exactly
why. A few possibilities. Maybe Emma Gifford could have given some
explanations. Catherine Hogarth might have something to add in that
Anyway, I retrieved the notebook with the slight sticky deposit on its
cover and turned to a page at the back.
I handed Clammie an ancient poem of mine:
I came to touch late- unapprreciative
of its electrifying/ soothing powers.
I knew the tactile pleasure it could give:
glossy canine heads, white, waxy flowers;
brush of a butterfly kiss; a baby’s grip
on my forefinger; a vellum bible
whose worn cover would please its readership.
And there were some who were susceptible
to a soft touch of Harry in the night.
The emanantion of a healing flow
from laying on of hands was no deft sleight
of charlatan. In the deepest sorrow
a hand on a shoulder, merest pressure
from a clasp’s interlink, upholstery
of friendly hug-comfort without measure.
Not least of all the senses, but most necessary-
Michelangelo’s divine/human charge,
elevated to sublime position.
(God’s finger reaching through space.) Writ large:
solidarity with Man’s condition.