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Five poems by Helen Drucquer and a story by Frederick Nenner
  1. Gillie Bolton1,
  2. Helen Drucquer2
  1. 1University of Sheffield, Sheffield
  2. 2Practice Psychotherapist, Sheffield

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    Edited by Gillie Bolton University of Sheffield, Sheffield


    All the time touch, chaotic touch, unspoken and untutored sense. Touch happening every day in every room fingers in arseholes probing feeling for the lump in the gut nervous student about to put his hand on or in that soft hidden mound kindly male hand on the back of the child's head touch that he will treasure all his life and reenact one day in remembrance of that gift. gift of trust that you put your finger in my mouth and I do not bite it trust that the finger tips know pass their knowing to what is learned in the arid lab know also what has not been written but know just know in their own right as the masseur's hands know to move this way and that never arrive or leave the body without warning He touched them and they were healed.

    Holding and soothing the anxious baby directing the healing movement through the arms and hands and the grandmother and I talking engaging our brains only when I become aware that in fact she is staring at the baby she is becoming aware of the baby's steady gaze I am wrapping him in peace she is becoming the baby and then we are all three in one embrace rocking and touching the sweet smell sound of the baby and we are healed as the poison in this moment at least drains away.

    This building this touchstone this rough and ready family provider time absorber touching into our lives and touching out into others abuser too and abused. container of our highest ideals and our most treacherous poison as the ancient snake recalls to us its ability to kill or cure and we caress the treacherous pelt so smooth so …

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    • Helen Drucquer is a Practice Psychotherapist at the Fox Hill Medical Centre, 363 Halifax Road, Sheffield, S6 1AF. Frederick Nenner is Director, Social Work Services, Lutheran Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York 11220-2574, United States. Gillie Bolton, Editor of Opening the word hoard, is Writer and Research Fellow in Medical Humanites, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, Institute of General Practice and Primary Care, Community Sciences Centre, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield S5 7AU. g.bolton{at}