This simple poem reminds us that genuine friendship is about the closeness of hands, hearts, and souls. It also, incidentally, captures the profundity of “touch” between Helen Keller, who was blind, deaf and barely speaking, and her mentor Anne Mansfield Sullivan.
“Tis the human touch in this world that counts,
The touch of your hand and mine,
Which means far more to the fainting heart
Than shelter and bread and wine;
For shelter is gone when the night is o’er,
And bread lasts only a day,
But the touch of the hand and the sound of the voice
Sing on in the soul alway.”
Please put your cellphone down right now, and touch or help someone who needs it. That’s where the true connection in life is!
Spencer Michael Free was a poet who graduated from the College of Physicians and Suregons at John Hopkins University in 1880. Later, he went on to practice medicine and surgery. He taught natural philosophy, chemistry, Latin and algebra at Ohio Wesleyan University. In addition, Free had a passion for the arts and letters which led to his writing hundreds of medical papers as well as poems.He tried several times to enlist in the army and wished to protect our country abroad. However, he never did, so instead he wrote and aimed to give his readers a sense of hope.
The Human Touch was written shortly after World War I and the poem urges a sense of love and humanity. Free also published Shawnee Cabin and Other Poems. While he was not healing people of their physical ailments, he worked for various charitable organizations throughout his life.