On Hands

Show me Hands …..

The  hands of a mother walking her baby into life
Hands that  soothe a troubled brow
and caress tired shoulders,
clear  a frown

Tender hands that wipe away  tears  of pain
Hands that are never quiet
That   wash and clean and bind and knead
and shape and mould and  sometimes plead.

Show me the gentle  hands of the lover
Warm hands, caressing hands, tender hands
hands that soothe the “ravelled sleeve of care”
hands that show love unasked
fingers that say without any words, “I love you”.
Even to point out mistakes and to help in putting them right.

You might know the hands of which I speak
Hands that must obey that primordial instinct
To create….
So, show me hands that compose the music of the spheres
And bring it to our ears,
so we must  listen
Even for a few moments, transformed.
Hands that capture our deepest feelings
In quatrains or in sonnets, in  blank verse or in prose
So we read them and understand
Hands that show human strengths, human failings,
The  beauty of a world teetering on the edge of extinction
To preserve it with ink and paint and canvas.
So we view them and are mindful.

Let us not forget the hands that sow seeds, and plant, dig wells,
Construct and build, create new things,  
Hands that reap what they have sown for the good
With gratitude.
Yes, show me those hands.
Hands stretched  out in welcome
Hands  waving  fond farewells;
The hands that give are   hands
Open to receive.

Show me hands that  write words of love
Of forgiveness
Of gratitude
Of advice
Of friendship
Of invitations
Of condolence
Of gentle remonstrance
Of pleading,
Of courage  

Words that are white flags of peace
Words that ease the pain of a broken heart

I want to look at the calloused hands of a father working ceaselessly
To provide for his family
And even though he might not say  words
His hands can also caress a tousled head  or wipe away a tear
or fix what is broken.
Show me those hands.

I prefer not to see those hands
That can only destroy, abuse, cause pain,
Become violent against  the weak.
Keep my gaze away from hands that hold guns
With  fingers ready to pull a trigger without care,
Wield  a knife,
or pull the bow that shoots the arrow of misfortune;
Consider those hands that are the willing tools
of evil brains
That produce  weapons of war
Causing innocent blood to flow

When other gentler hands must bathe the dead
And dig the graves to hold them.

I prefer not to acknowledge
Hands that hold a poison pen.
Do not show me  a hand  that refuses to give help,
or even to receive it
What are those hands  to me
Except impediments to a better world?

Give me those hands that give life to a sick and broken  body
That administer the anodyne of life
Like  the deft hands of the surgeon
and the gentle hands of a nurse
Give me those hands that point the straight way to a student
Who will, in turn, do the same for others
Give me hands that remove the stone that blocks
the path of a traveler
when other hands did not.
Those are the hands worth looking at.
These are  the same  hands
That will lift towards heaven
Asking for help, and saying  “Thank you”,
To ask for guidance and to receive it.

6 thoughts on “On Hands

  1. Aunty, how dis BEAUTIFUL. I had no idea you were such a talented poet 😀 Loved it, Aunty. As someone with not a creative bone in my body I am always in envy of people like you who have a story in their heart. Can I say I’m proud of you? It is so easy to watch your life go by once you stop working and your children grow but you’re still going and noticing all the beauty and joy that there can be, and giving it to other people with your art.



  2. Beautifully written. I like the push and pull of the verses – the delicate and lovely things hands can do but also the ugly acts hands are capable of. I wonder what led you to write about this. Did you look at your own hands and remember all the good they did and all the potential they have or remember the hands of others you’ve known. Keep writing. I think you have a lot to say!!


  3. I love your piece On Hands. It is truly a poem, and so beautiful. Your talent and gift for writing shines through with this piece. I believe you should enter it in a poetry contest, so more can see it.

    After reading the entire work of art, in my mind I think of this piece as On hands and choices. Most of us are born with hands and there are so many things throughout our lifetimes that we can choose to do with our hands. As you pointed out, those things can range from doing “good” or doing “bad”, and it can also encompass choosing to do nothing at all.

    I do admire that in your silver years of life you choose to do more with your hands. You choose to create with your hands. You use your hands to bring beauty into this world. Thank you.


    1. Believe it or not.
      As y’all were driving away one day, leaving me waving, the thought came to me.
      What were my hands doing beside moving to and fro.
      They were expressing sadness.
      They were moving that emotion into the air.
      They were telling y’all how I felt.
      It was a give and take cause you were all waving too.
      Then I started thinking about the things we do with our hands. That’s what have birth to the piece.


  4. . Take my hand in yours and help me walk through the difficulties of now and the future. Your soft and loving hands will soothe and comfort me.


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