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 aren't enough; neither are the hands.

I need no reminder, yet here it is: in comes a girl,
Stark blind, her family leading her from room to room. 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, living passion.

In her darkness she has a way to know that's not allowed
To me. I sneak a touch while the usher's turned but it is
As nothing to her caress. Once again, authorities

Enforce the dualism of eye and hand. Why can't we join
The light of sight and touch? It's what we need so we can gain
An understanding of the kind that does not end at stone.

Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > Ancient Fire