Poem Tryouts: Go Ahead, Touch It

09 Jul

1:38 p.m. — Walnut Creek

Can you feel the flaking paint? The cool smooth steel? The crumbly, light as air, burnt match head? Hello, all. I hope you are well. My husband visited for a week at my mother’s and did something miraculous with the computer connections — after many days of hair pulling. I hope to read some of your poems in the next couple of days, if my brain hasn’t gone the way of the computer connection. If not, write, anyway!

How often do you think about textures when you describe things? How thoroughly and deeply do you touch things? The impulse to touch or to want to touch something unusual, unknown, or intriguing is natural. The desire to touch has been part of our psyche as long as learning has, because touch informs us and imparts knowledge in a way that perhaps only sight does, as a sense.

The impulse to touch is stronger in some. I cannot see something new, or something which attracts me, without wanting to touch it and if I cannot, I feel incomplete. Museums and art galleries are torture. Are you a tactile person? When you shop for things, especially clothes, do you ever finger the fabric or material from which the thing is made? In museums do you itch to stroke the sculptures? To explore them with your fingers? If our socialization didn’t discourage us from learning through our tactile sense, we would be forever touching things to learn about them.

What do you learn from touch, from texture? Think of handshakes, hugs, the touching of rare or holy objects, holding a baby, kissing someone’s cheek, or mouth.

Today, write through texture. List as many textures as you can think of: prickly, fuzzy, satiny, rough…

List, next to each texture, what you associate with that texture.

Mentally feel your way around a person, an object, an event; meditate, in words, on what you understand about objects or people, through texture and touch.

I am including several photographs by Paul from freedigitalphotos. His pictures are particularly sensory. Look at each photograph and in your mind feel the object and describe what it feels like to touch the different parts. Do not forget that part of touch is not just texture, but also temperature.

The asparagus to your left, still raw, the stem cool and smooth, the head nubby. The wall below, with the plaster and the brick, each rough, but the brick more crumbly, the plaster smoother. The spiky conker with its satin smooth seed. Each provides multiple textures, often contrasting. Look around wherever you are and let your fingertips sense textures, feel them in your mind.bricks_and_motar

I shall see you next Tuesday for a prompt to do with storms.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 09/07/2013 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , , , ,

15 responses to “Poem Tryouts: Go Ahead, Touch It

  1. winstonplowes

    09/07/2013 at 4:07 pm

    Thx for this Margo, I am trying to describe washing up liquid in a poem.. this might help 🙂

    • margo roby

      09/07/2013 at 9:07 pm

      My pleasure, always, Winston. I’d love to see the result. Texture isn’t easy.

  2. LaTonya

    09/07/2013 at 5:12 pm

    Yes, I am a tacticle person. I am very much aware of the texture of things, their weight, their pattern. In fact, When I read poetry, I am keenly aware of the feel of the words on my tongue. It’s one way I judge a good poem. Does my mouth feel good when I read the work outloud. Do the sounds and movement of my tongue and facial muscles delight me during a read?

  3. barbara_

    10/07/2013 at 11:10 am

    Having fun. I’ll come back to this one

    oh, great pics

  4. julespaige

    12/07/2013 at 11:43 am

  5. julespaige

    12/07/2013 at 5:37 pm


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