These hands have held babies,
Soothed fevered brows,
Held tightly to others in excitement
And in love.
These hands have created beauty,
Shaping art from life,
Finding the line, the gesture
At the essence.
These hands have tied themselves
In imagined knots,
Working over worries and problems –
Then releasing them.
These hands have crafted feasts,
Made a thousand sandwiches,
Fed hungry mouths with
More than food
These hands have wielded flame
To transform life’s delicate materials,
Forging their own language in
The future’s kiln.
These hands have wiped bottoms,
Changed sheets, captured spiders
In acts of fearless engagement with
The necessities of life.
These hands have snapped shutters,
Preserved memories that hold
Together the souls of families,
Including her own.
These hands have wiped tears
From trickling paths down cheeks,
Sharing times of sorrow
And finding solace.
These hands have linked generations,
Providing safety, care and love,
Unbreakable links made
By clasping fingers.
These hands have written letters
In looping, graceful script,
Giving equal beauty to words of wisdom
And grocery lists
These hands have travelled widely
On wild youthful adventures
And they adventure still: tasting, looking, feeling the
Wonder of life.
These hands have sat quietly
In folded contemplation
Holding a cup of tea, or watching the pattern
Of the rain.
These hands have knotted rugs
Built blanket forts, pressed flowers
Seeking novelty, creating magic
In constant evolution.
These hands have given gifts,
Both solid and insubstantial,
Unrepeatable, and unmatched
In this world.
They say our lives can be read
In the careful lines of our palms.
In these hands, the stories are infinite.
Note: This is a poem for a special woman on a special birthday. The image of the hands came quickly, but the last stanza came as a surprise – though it needed a bit of crating to turn it into the shape of an open palm that felt so right.