On a Visit to the Musée Rodin

by Peter Saint-Andre

Although I know no French, the usher's glare is universal:
"Look but do not touch." Yet can one know the passion of the kiss
Just by looking? The eyes are not enough; and neither are the hands.

I require no reminder, yet here it is: in comes a girl,
Stark blind, her family leading her from room to room as I watch —
Roiled by envy, wakened by pity, held by fascination.

Her gentle warm hands move slowly over the cold unmoving
Marble, changed brusquely by its maker from unfeeling stone to
These violent images of longing, love, and living passion.

In her darkness she holds a way of knowing that's not allowed
To me. I sneak a touch while the usher is turned but it is as
Nothing to her loving caress. Once again, authorities

Enforce the dualism of eye and hand. Why can we not join
The understanding of sight and touch? It's what we need so we can feel
As much as we would feel, and live in light that does not end at stone.

Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > Ancient Fire