Beautiful Hands

[This poem is written by Ellen M. H. Gates (1835-1920). She was born in Torington, Connecticut (USA). She wrote religious songs (hymns) like "The Home of the Soul" and "Eternity" for well-known magazines. Collections of her poems were published in 1897 and 1910.]

Such beautiful, beautiful hands,
They're neither white nor small; And you, I know, would scarcely think
That they were fair at all.
I've looked on hands whose form and hue
A sculptor's dream might be,
Yet are these aged wrinkled hands Most beautiful to me. 8

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
Though heart were weary and sad
These patient hands kept toiling on
That the children might be glad,
I almost weep when looking back
To childhood's distant day!
I think how these hands rested not.
When mine were at their play. 16

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
They're growing feeble now,
And time and pain have left their mark
On hand, and heart and brow.
Alas! alas! the nearing time
And the sad, sad day to me,
When 'neath the daisies, out of sight,
These hands must folded be. 24

But oh! beyond the shadowy lands,
Where all is bright and fair,
I know full well these dear old hands
Will palms of victory bear;
When crystal streams, through endless years,
Flow over golden sands,
And where the old are young again,
I'll clasp my mother's hands. 32

Ellen M. H. Gates

A. Notes:
Fourth stanza
Line 4: palms of victory: these were given to a soldier or an athlete who was victorious.
Line 5: crystal: transparent, clearer.
Line 8: clasp: hold in hand.

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