thigmotropism

This year, I’m writing poetry for every word tasting in November. I’m calling it Povember. Today, a ghazal of sorts.

Thigmotropism, which has the stress on the second syllable, names the property of moving in response to touch: turning towards or away from a thing upon coming into contact with it. It’s often described in plants, but of course happens in more mobile entities as well.

It’s only nature to manifest such
Thigmotropism: to turn at a touch

As stems and leaves, reaching the rough
Rock, wrap and curl and curve at a touch

And serpents that meet a bone in the dust
Will tighten or bite or spurn at a touch

Night-hopping rabbits far from the hutch
In search of lovage will lurch at a touch

Blind babies of birds, for worm or nut
Or mother’s gut, will yearn at a touch

While crawling eaters of leaves and must
Like caterpillars will swerve at a touch

And squirming infants in mother’s clutch
Will nourish and bawl and learn at a touch

And hand and another hand that brush
May jerk or caress or flirt at a touch

So your intent, disgust, trust, or lust,
This poet will feel in turn at a touch

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