My Dad's Hands

My Dad's Hands 
By 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.