At the Touch of You
By Witter Bynner – 1881-1968
At the touch of you,
As if you were an archer with your swift hand at the bow,
The arrows of delight shot through my body.
You were spring,
And I the edge of a cliff,
And a shining waterfall rushed over me.
About the Poem
“At the Touch of You” is a short and simple poem, that’s very sweet. What drew me to this poem was the first line: “At the touch of you.” Most poems begin with mentioning the sight of their lover and go on to describe their outer appearance, but this poet instead felt his rush of emotions not when he saw his love, but when he touched him. The imagery in the first stanza is evocative of Greek mythology. The final stanza is a beautiful comparison of how the lover’s fit together in their romance by invoking the image of a waterfall to create a beautiful metaphor.
About the Poet
Witter Bynner was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1881. He graduated from Harvard University in 1902. After college, he worked as a newspaper reporter and, later, as the assistant editor of McClure’s magazine.
Bynner published his first poetry collection, An Ode to Harvard (Small, Maynard, & Co.), in 1907. He was also the author of New Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1960); Take Away the Darkness (Alfred A. Knopf, 1947); The Beloved Stranger (Alfred A. Knopf, 1919); Tiger (M. Kennerley, 1913); and several other poetry collections.
Bynner was also known for his works in translation, including The Way of Life According to Laotzu: An American Version (John Day Co., 1944), and a literary biography, Journey with Genius: Recollections and Reflections Concerning the D. H. Lawrences (J. Day Co, 1951).
In 1916, Bynner and Arthur David Ficke published Spectra: A Book of Poetic Experiments, under the pseudonyms Emanuel Morgan and Anne Krish. The book included poems and a manifesto on “spectrism,” a parody of Imagism. In 1918, Bynner admitted that the book was a hoax.
In 1922, Bynner settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his partner, Robert Hunt. He died there on June 1, 1968.