Grandad sat staring down at his hands
deep in thought, in another place,
His thoughts were far away, in other lands
I sat by him, looked into his face,
‘Are you ok Granddad, you seem so quiet
‘I’m fine’ he said, ‘thanks for caring’
That life etched in his face, you couldn’t buy it
rubbing his hands, sitting, staring
“Have you ever looked at your hands?” he said
“I mean, really looked at your hands?”
I stared down with my fingers partly spread
thought about those playground handstands,
I tried to work out the point he was making
He looked, could see the confusion,
on his face a smile started, slowly breaking
he said, ‘forgive the intrusion’.
“Stop and think for a moment, look at my hands
though wrinkled, they were once my tools,
Life has slipped through them like shifting sands
but always we’ve followed the rules,
They’ve put food in my mouth, clothes on my back
as a child I’d fold them in prayer,
They’ve saved me from harm, kept me on the right track
pulled up my boots, put a comb through my hair.
They have been dirty, raw, broken and bent
they shook as I held our newborn son,
They have covered my face in bad times I spent
but never once have they held a gun,
They trembled with love when I married your Gran
and when I walked your mum down the aisle,
Put bread on the table as a working man
In God’s house they allowed me to smile.
Today, when my body is racked with pain
they hold me up and keep me strong,
They’ll be there for me again and again
not knowing any right from wrong,
They’ll be folded when I no longer wake
but, more importantly understand
It will be these strong hands that God will take
as he leads me to the promised land.
Just six months later Granddad passed away
and his words came back to my mind.
As I knelt in the church clasped my hands to pray
for a man who was wise and kind.
Now I am old and grey with silvery strands
With my grandson whom I adore
‘Grandad, why are you staring at your hands?
and life’s circle begins once more.
Eric Harvey 18/07/2020Recommended1 recommendationPublished in