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THE HANDS
by Ella Render

Twisted and swollen, bent and veined
These hands rest limply, purposeless now,
No tool ever gripped, no letter to write
No cool hand is needed on hot fevered brow.

Look at these hands so withered and dry
Blue veins distending the wrinkled, blotched skin
These once were the hands that sparkled with gems
That were kissed and pampered and fondled by him.

Long tapered fingers that ran o'er the keys
That twirled the ringlet on baby's sweet head
Kneaded the flour with just the right touch
To make the fine cake and the best of the bread.

She remembers the day when her hand was held fast
By a father so tall and so strong
And then by the youth at her first high school ball
Who trod on her feet all night long.

She spreads out her fingers to receive the ring
From the hands that she loved best of all
Then thinks of the day when the cold hand of Death
Snatched him from her grasp in the Fall.

Her hands that for years have toiled to provide
The comforts of life for her kin
Are useless and weak and helpless with age
And no -one will hold them again.

She trembles and lifts them to cover her eyes
And wipe away tears that would flow
As memories awaken the years that have gone
That her hands and her face alone show.

Then once more at rest on her tartan knee rug
They lie linked together in prayer
For that day when the unbroken circle is joined
And all of her loved ones are there.

Find Ella at Greetings From New Zealand, Poet in Residence
and INternational Woman