Give me your hands,
those lacklustre, wrinkly, aged things, whose use has parted flesh from fat,
caused knuckles to buckle, and crooked fingers oddly northeast.
Place those ancient tomes in my soft saran palm.
Let me observe the effects of time, extracting the story from each line …
stories curled up to those nodes, dying to be told:
Your weathered hands have tended babes–me amongst them.
Mama Major spared no rod to spoil the child;
Tender and tough, you loved us: some time before we knew your name, and long before we could shout it out.
Nappies you’ve washed and wrung, before polishing the floor and ensuring dinner was done;
Fields you’ve tilled, twinned with the tortured earth, sowing and reaping in the old ways;
And only now, after your caretaker days wane, does the skin fall in saggy pools,
tired from your woman’s work — gritty and lined with straining veins.
Worn enough to impart the tenderest touch, who cares for softness?
Imbued with a gift nature transfers artfully to goddesses of love,
the unadorned hands of women like you belong in the Met.
But, for now, rest your weary tendrils here, let me clasp them in applause,
while you revel in the reality that the climb is no longer lonely, the path not so steep.