“Touch” by Octavio Paz – Analysis and Poem

Synopsis

In the poem “Touch” by Octavio Paz, the speaker states that his hands open the reader’s person, dresses the person in more nudity, and uncovers more bodies under the person’s body. His hands then invent a whole new body for the reader’s body.

Analysis

As always, there are several ways to interpret this poem. However, I am of the belief the author was using “hands” as a figurative word for his words. It is quite possible that the two wrote letters to one another. Using this line of thinking, the author uses his mind, his conscious, his friendship, his love as a way to get to know the other person. The “curtain” then becomes something that is hiding the sunshine of the person’s soul. Inside is the true person. He now sees what is the real emotion, the real personality, the real person.

Figurative Language & Meaning

“Hands” – His words
“Curtains” – Something that hides the sunlight, or in this poem it hides the person’s true feelings, personality, and emotions.

Line by Line

1. “My hands” refers to the author’s words. Possibly the words were written.
2. The speaker’s words allowed the reader to show their true self.
3. The speaker’s words gave the reader reason for showing their soul to the speaker.
4. The words allowed the speaker to learn everything about the reader’s past.
5. The author’s words.
6. The words allowed the speaker to know everything about the reader and learn what he did not know before.

Poem

“Touch”
by Octavio Paz

My hands
Open the curtains of your being
Clothe you in a further nudity
Uncover the bodies of your body
My hands
Invent another body for your body

Reader’s Reaction

This poem looks incredibly sensual at first glance. I suppose, it is possible that Paz did write it as such. However, that isn’t something a literature teacher would ever let you even bother to suggest. Hands, nudity, and uncover are all quite sensual subjects.

Nonetheless, the deeper, more true meaning of the poem is even better (I mean, is there really anything better than sensuality?). Octavio Paz brings us to the realms of our body, our soul, and our emotions. Being able to connect and understand another person on such a level is one of the deepest feelings we can ever have for another person.

I highly recommend this poem for college aged students. It is a brilliant piece of work and perhaps one of Paz’s best writings.

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia.

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