My Dad’s Hands – David Kettler

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 the grip.

∼ David Kettler

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