Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My mother's hands

Her hands are gnarled and deeply veined,
Their trembling now is still.
At unaccustomed rest they lie,
From work at last released.

Childish hands in younger days
Knew the toil of country life:
Feeding chickens, toting water,
Planting, picking, shelling, shucking.

Shell shocked soldier and Great Depression
Conspired to send her off to school.
Her hands not only wrote her lessons,
But also worked for room and board.

Independent, self-reliant,
With the inner strength her mother taught her,
With determined hands she pushed
The confining limits placed on women.

A mother's hands worked ceaselessly,
Keeping the house, keeping the books,
Sewing thousands of straight, true stitches,
Guiding her children with a straight, true heart.

In later years, her weary hands
Of necessity took over other tasks,
As touch replaced her fading vision,
And gestures augmented her jumbled speech.

Through her pain and through my sorrow,
Our hearts spoke all they had to say.
Her hands grasped mine with newfound strength,
At once both gaining and giving comfort.

And then those precious hands grow cold,
As we look into each other's eyes.
And yet, even now, I feel their warmth
As Mother's strong hands guide me home.


Thom said...

Beautifully expressed, Galen. It has been three years since I lost my mother. While nothing eases the pain it is also true that nothing can erase what is good and true. You have captured all of this and more... but this is just a piece, isn't it? A lovely piece, it is.

Mariann said...

Very lovely and true; thanks for sharing this with us.
Happy Birthday, Mom.