Do Not Touch

after an exhibition by David Nash

Poet: Rachel Carney

we long to reach out   to touch 

our finger-tips to subtle grains   feel grey


tree-bones   their risen ridges   push

our weight against the hulk of wood   


place our palms on each smooth 

sanded layer of whittled bark   balanced 


here in careful white   cubed   spliced

squashed inside   but we must


not lean too close   we must weave

our way through this pageant of 


magnificent decay   squint to see 

what they saw   the ghost


of a man approaching through 

white dawn   reaching out with


weathered hands   each gentle

stroke   a whisper on worn skin   


each cut   a bite of love   enthralled

growing   into something more

Rachel Carney is a poet and PhD student based in Cardiff. Her poems, reviews and articles have been published in several magazines including the New Welsh Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Acumen and Wales Arts Review. One of her poems was shortlisted for the 2019 Bridport Prize. She blogs at