This Is A Must Read!

Lasting touch

Lasting touch (Photo credit: tankgirlrs)


What if You Knew You’d Be the Last to Touch Somebody?




I’m completely nuts about Ellen Bass’ poetry. No matter how many times I read one of her poems, it pierces me freshly each time.  Just stunning.  Wow!

So I just had to post this power-packed little gem again.  It’s from The Human Line, a book I’ve given as a gift more times than I can count.  Is it just me?  Can’t be…


What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line’s crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn’t signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember
they’re going to die.

A friend told me she’d been with her aunt.
They’d just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked a half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon’s spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

“If You Knew” by Ellen Bass, from The Human Line. © Copper Canyon Press, 2007.



6 thoughts on “This Is A Must Read!

  1. I don’t ever read poems but I enjoyed this. It made me think. Thank you.

  2. risinghawk says:

    Truly exquisite – and true!

  3. vwoopvwoop says:

    thank you for posting this. it makes my eyes sting with tears but in that important way.

  4. Summer says:

    Sweet you,

    I’ve an award for you, for the person who you are and the things you share with the world

    Thank you for that..

    Namasté, Summer

  5. This gave me chills. I will definitely pass this on and look up her work. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  6. Jim Amos says:

    Hope all is well.

    Jim Amos, MD
    The Practical Psychosomaticist

Thoughts and Musings Welcomed!

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