My Dad's Hands

My Dad's Hands 

Bedtime came, we were settling down, 
I was holding one of my lads. 
As I grasped him so tight, I saw a strange sight: 
My hands... they looked like my dad's! 

I remember them well, those old gnarled hooks,
there was always a cracked nail or two.
And thanks to a hammer that strayed from its mark,
his thumb was a beautiful blue! 

They were rough, I remember, incredibly tough,
as strong as a carpenter's vice.
But holding a scared little boy at night, 
they seemed to me awfully nice! 

The sight of those hands - how impressive it was
in the eyes of his little boy. 
Other dads' hands were cleaner, it seemed
(the effects of their office employ). 

I gave little thought in my formative years
of the reason for Dad's raspy mitts:
The love in the toil, the dirt and the oil,
rusty plumbing that gave those hands fits! 

Thinking back, misty-eyed, and thinking ahead,
when one day my time is done.
The torch of love in my own wrinkled hands
will pass on to the hands of my son. 

I don't mind the bruises, the scars here and there
or the hammer that just seemed to slip.
I want most of all when my son takes my hand,
to feel that love lies in my grip. 

~ David Kettler


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