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Inspiring Poems about Hands
This Living Hand
by John Keats
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calmed--see here it is--
I hold it towards you.
Our Mama’s Hands
by Marcella L. True
I saw you looking at your hands with disgust
You hate them now and hide them you must
But mama, there’s no shame in hands so worn
Because all they’ve touched since you were born
You say you hate them ‘cause they’re so frail,
So veined and aged and red, not pale
You don’t remember how much they’ve done
To bring the 5 of us to who we’ve become
You don’t remember the love they’ve shown
The tireless tending to us we’ve known
To tying the shoes and showing us how
To guiding us through all we know now
You don’t remember they’ve nurtured us well
That they soothed us so tenderly when we fell
That they hugged and held us when we were hurt
That they scrubbed and cleaned us of the dirt
You don’t remember that they wiped our tears
That they gave us a refuge from our fears
That they washed and doctored our injured knees
And they offered a tissue when we sneezed
You have no reason to hate them now
Without those hands we would not know how
To use our own hands as you once did
To soothe and nurture and worries to rid
We can hopefully teach our young ones now
That our hands are special and that somehow
It all began with your loving hands
They are so special and that’s how it stands
Mama, don’t hate them, ‘cause they’re etched with love
And Daddy’s patiently waiting to hold them, up above
by Pablo Neruda
love, toward mine,
what do they bring me flying?
Why did they stop
at my mouth, suddenly,
why do I recognize them
as if then, before,
I had touched them,
as if before they existed
they had passed over
my forehead, my waist?
Their softness came
flying over time,
over the sea, over the smoke,
over the spring,
and when you placed
your hands on my chest,
I recognized those golden
I recognized that clay
and that color of wheat.
All the years of my life
I walked around looking for them.
I went up the stairs,
I crossed the roads,
trains carried me,
waters brought me,
and in the skin of the grapes
I thought I touched you.
The wood suddenly
brought me your touch,
the almond announced to me
your secret softness,
until your hands
closed on my chest
and there like two wings
they ended their journey.
by Melinda Clements
Grandpa, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. He didn't move, just sat with his head down staring at his hands.
When I sat down beside him he didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if he was OK. Finally, not really wanting to disturb him but wanting to check on him at the same time, I asked him if he was OK. He raised his head and looked at me and smiled. "Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," he said in a clear strong voice.
"I didn't mean to disturb you, Grandpa, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK," I explained to him.
"Have you ever looked at your hands," he asked. "I mean really looked at your hands?
I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down.
No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point he was making.
"Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have how they have served you well throughout your years.
These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.
They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor.
They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back.
As a child my Mother taught me to fold them in prayer.
They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots.
They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent.
They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son.
Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.
They wrote the letters home and trembled and shook when I buried my Parents and Spouse and walked my Daughter down the aisle.
Yet, they were strong and sure when I dug my buddy out of a foxhole and lifted a plow off of my best friend's foot.
They have held children, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.
They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body.
They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw.
And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.
These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of my life.
But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home.
And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ."
I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my Grandpa's hands and led him home.
When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and wife, I think of Grandpa. I know he has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.
by Maggie Pittman
Her hands held me gently from the day I took my first breath.
Her hands helped to guide me as I took my first step.
Her hands held me close when the tears would start to fall.
Her hands were quick to show me that she would take care of it all.
Her hands were there to brush my hair, or straighten a wayward bow.
Her hands were often there to comfort the hurts that didn't always show.
Her hands helped hold the stars in place, and encouraged me to reach.
Her hands would clap and cheer and praise when I captured them at length.
Her hands would also push me, though not down or in harms way.
Her hands would punctuate the words, just do what I say.
Her hands sometimes had to discipline, to help bend this young tree.
Her hands would shape and mold me into all she knew I could be.
Her hands are now twisting with age and years of work,
Her hand now needs my gentle touch to rub away the hurt.
Her hands are more beautiful than anything can be.
Her hands are the reason I am me.
by Robinson Jeffers
Inside a cave in a narrow canyon near Tassajara
The vault of rock is painted with hands,
A multitude of hands in the twilight, a cloud of men’s palms, no more,
No other picture. There’s no one to say
Whether the brown shy quiet people who are dead intended
Religion or magic, or made their tracings
In the idleness of art; but over the division of years these careful
Signs-manual are now like a sealed message
Saying: “Look: we also were human; we had hands, not paws. All hail
You people with the cleverer hands, our supplanters
In the beautiful country; enjoy her a season, her beauty, and come down
And be supplanted; for you also are human.”
by Siv Cedering
When I fall asleep
my hands leave me.
They pick up pens
and draw creatures
with five feathers
on each wing.
They say: "We are large
like your father's
They say: "We have
I speak to them:
"If you are hands,
why don't you
And the wings beat
the air, clapping.
high above elbows
They open windows
They perch in treetops
and hide under bushes
their nails. "Hands,"
I call them.
But it is fall
and all creatures
prepare to fly
When I sleep
the shadows of my hands
come to me.
They are softer than feathers
and warm as creatures
who have been close
to the sun.
They say: "We are the giver,"
and tell of oranges
growing on trees.
They say: "We are the vessel,"
and tell of journeys
They say: "We are the cup."
And I stir in my sleep.
Hands pull triggers
the shadows of my hands
tuck their heads
when I will wake
three strands of hair
by Jane Hirshfield
A hand is not four fingers and a thumb.
Nor is it palm and knuckles,
not ligaments or the fat's yellow pillow,
not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins.
A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines
with their infinite dramas,
nor what it has written,
not on the page,
not on the ecstatic body.
Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping—
not sponge of rising yeast-bread,
not rotor pin's smoothness,
The maple's green hands do not cup
the proliferant rain.
What empties itself falls into the place that is open.
A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question.
Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs.
Hymn to My Hands
by Steven Fortney
Again, the spider appears on the ceiling
above my head as he always does each time
he approves my thinking. The mudra
I make at my work and puja table floats thus:
both hands flat. Aum: The right hand rises
and touches my heart. Mani: The left hand
joins it there. Padme: The right hand
floats back to the table top. Hum: The left hand
then joins it there. In the heart is the flowering
of universes. My hands rest on the altar.
They, with their body, have both lived more
than eight decades. They are small for a man,
short fingered, yet strong enough. On one
finger of the left hand, a wedding ring;
a university ring on the finger of the right.
The hair on both is sparse: oak opening,
African savannah, sparse. On the sandy
loam plains are rivers, blue veins that course
through that tanned tundra that is the back
of both hands. In places the surface cracks
in the parallelograms and triangles of soil
surfaces starved of water. Whirlpools
and eddys at fingertips. Canyons and arroyos
in palms. Hands can caress or make a fist.
Living things, they. Even here, a mystery.
Consciousness can will some things,
holding a pencil, saluting; but when still,
life, vitality, beyond mere will. I tell my thumb
to move and it does. But then the hands
at rest are packed with energy. I do not
know how this has happened. I cherish
the mystery. And there are spots.
Death spots? Liver marks? Sunspots?
Speak of the mortal life. Speak of coming
terminus. Speak of the star inset in galaxies.
The spots are galaxies. They become groups
of galaxies. On my hands, universes. We are
made of star stuff. Those astronomies
before me on my two hands are the astronomies
of the ever living, pulsing, unlimited Cosmos.
That should make me afraid, as I was terrified
when seated on my meditation blanket and I saw,
long ago, paralyzed by the sight of my dissolution
among the pulsars and exploding novas. I did not
want to die. But now watching the galaxies
on the backs of my two hands, I am not afraid.
I take comfort. My meditation is cool. I am grateful.
Aum mani padme hum. Bodhi svaha. Alleluia. Amen.
In my heart is the flowering of universes.
So let it be! Praise God! Amen!
Tiny handprints grow so fast
Their awkward groping soon will clasp
A ball, a book a sweetheart’s hand
A diploma, briefcase, a wedding band
Tiny handprints grow so strong
It doesn’t take them very long
To snap a shirt, to paint, to draw
To work hard, to drive a car
Tiny handprints grow to be
A person that is quite unique
A wonderful mix of so many things
With his own feelings, thought and dreams
Tiny handprints grow to rely
On his parents to bring him up just right
His parents pray that when he’s grown
He’ll say their job has been well done
Tiny handprints are ours to love
The sweetest gift from God above
A miracle that never is surpassed
How sad they grow up way to fast.
by Robert Curtis
Oh! mighty digit that thou art.
From other fingers kept apart.
Included only when called "hand".
You do so point to some other land.
You really do stand quite alone.
Pointing off to some twilight zone.
You are so often much abused.
With such terms as "clumsy" so accused.
There is much amusement at your expense.
When the term "All Thumbs" is brought hence.
The Thumb turned down by Romans meant.
The quick demise for some vanquished gent.
The Thumb turned upwards brings forth a grin.
It's the international sign for good fortune.
The victor is also oftimes praised.
With this distant and silent digit raised.
Even when unseen it's still in use.
Holding back fingers to produce.
That Boy Scout salute or Churchill's V.
It truly is used universally.
To thumb your nose is the insult gross.
It is often used when at a loss.
For words four letters so oft abused.
That only silent signs are used.
You stubby digit by Jack Horner famed.
And almost omnipoetic named.
But on those days when you are sore.
You really hurt oh! so much more.
Than all the others on the hand.
Your prehensile acts are in much demand.
So hurry back oh! mighty thumb.
You see how important you've become!
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