For most of my life, I have been dependent on my hands to earn me a living, so I thought I ought to give them a poem to all to themselves.
Would I give these hands to thee?
these worn-out tools my life has used
with calloused palms and knuckles swollen
and scars that shout "We've been abused"
with liver-spots and wrinkled backs
and nails all brittle now and broken
bones distorted with arthritis,
veins that stand out - hard work's token.
and yet these wonderful machines
my life record in what they've done
from violent shocks to tasks so fine,
grafting hard or having fun
hammer-blows to threading needles
music played or poem written
tying fishhooks, catching, juggling
making baskets, Willow smitten.
In the winter, fingers frozen
still they turn to do the task
always working, never failing,
they just do the things you ask.
I mind the time when they were younger
slender fingers, soft and smooth,
before the skin was rough and broken
before I had a life to prove,
when fingers worked with such precision
skin so delicate to feel,
hands that never had a tremor
that now would over-use reveal.
And yet these hands have been my fortune
without them I'd be not who I am
vitality to my life they've given
these hands here have served this man.
so would I give these hands to thee?
Never - not while I'm alive
they've been my friends and close companions
they've wiped my tears
and yet still strive.