Sarah Kay is an American poet. I came across this the other day and had to share it. I think it is a lovely way to end the week.
“people used to tell me that i had beautiful hands
told me so often, in fact, that one day i started to believe them until i asked my photographer father, “hey daddy could i be a hand model”
to which he said no way,
i don't remember the reason he gave me and i would've been upset,
but there were far too many stuffed animals to hold
too many homework assignment to write,
too many boys to wave at
too many years to grow,
we used to have a game, my dad and i about holding hands cos we held hands everywhere, and every time either he or i would whisper a great
big number to the other, pretending that we were keeping track of how many times we had held hands that we were sure, this one had to be 8 million 2 thousand 7 hundred and fifty three.
hands learn more than minds do,
hands learn how to hold other hands,
how to grip pencils and mold poetry,
how to tickle pianos and dribble a basketball,
and grip the handles of a bicycle
how to hold old people, and touch babies ,
i love hands like i love people,
they're the maps and compasses in which we navigate our way through life, some people read palms to tell your future,
but i read hands to tell your past,
each scar marks the story worth telling,
each calloused palm,
each cracked knuckle is a missed punch
or years in a factory,
now I've seen middle eastern hands clenched in middle eastern fists pounding against each other like war drums, each country sees they re fists as warriors and others as enemies.
even if fists alone are only hands. but this is not about politics, no hands arent about politics, this is a poem about love, and fingers. fingers interlock like a beautiful zipper of prayer.
one time i grabbed my dads hands so that our fingers interlocked perfectly but he changed positions, saying no that hand hold is for your mom.
kids high five, but grown ups, we learn how to shake hands, you need a firm hand shake,but don't hold on too tight, but don't let go too soon, but don't hold down for too long,
but hands are not about politics, when did it become so complicated. i always thought its simple.
the other day my dad looked at my hands, as if seeing them for the first time, and with laughter behind his eye lids, with all the seriousness a man of his humor could muster, he said you know you got nice hands, you could’ve been a hand model, and before the laughter can escape me, i shake my head at him, and squeeze his hand, 8 million 2 thousand 7hundred and fifty four.”
― Sarah Kay
What a lovely poem / story story / tribute.
Hands are such an important extension of ourselves. Michael's mother has very old and spotty 92 year old hands. She uses them lots when she tells a story and eventually you do not notice how gnarled and crippled her fingers really are. Nic and Kelly have inherited my dad's very distinctive hands with a broad palm and long tapering fingers. I love sitting and watching their hands while they talk because it brings back memories of those wonderful safe hands that belonged to my Dad. Then I feel sad that we do not have any pictures of my Dad's hands. Why don't we take pictures of hands?
We could all be "hand models"
My Daddy and my Grandfather and their hands (well one of them)
(and putting them to good use!!)