Hands Down


See these hands of mine, dear grandchildren?

Not a pretty sight I agree.

Don’t be afraid to compare these ancient large tools of my body

Fear, not the sight of the blue ropes protruding through translucent paper-thin skin

For those very ropes carry a river of life to the tips of my finger and toes.

Take a moment, look at your child-like hands.

Plump, smooth, without blemish. Tiny fingers, tiny pink nails

Together we count – one two-three-four-five.


See these hands of mine, dear children

A younger smoother manicured hand held your father.

Together we laughed and loved

We stroked your baby soft skin held your tiny hands.

These hands performed many tasks: created words, music, food

Soothed the sick, nurtured the family.

Working tools attached to our bodily frame

Tools such as these grow weary with time.


See these hands of mine, Mum

I place them in yours, hold your hand softly, stroke the bent and twisted knuckles

Feel the crepe skin ripple along the surface like a permeant crease in fine lace

No longer ragged cuticles and broken nails the years of hard work long gone

Yet the dust you carefully removed each day for seventy years from your precious home

Returns each day, while dust motes play in the air looking for a place to stay.