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Nathan Harms

About this Christian Poet:
Nathan is the founder and Executive Director of Utmost Christian Writers Foundation.

My Father’s Hands

My father’s hands were thick as boards,
twisted and knotted pine.
His sturdy fingers, ancient forests,
fissured, gnarled and lined.
Those lunch pail hands were lumbermen,
toiling in preference to play,
with fingers like hardened solid oak
felling the strain of each day.

I never wished for my father’s hands,
with their primitive shape and display.
Instead, I fancied a pianist’s octave—
musician’s fingers—to play.
Soft fingers smooth as ivory
to draw the face of a bride,
hands that eschewed hard labor,
warm hands that stayed inside.

But it seems as I play longer,
and my father’s hands have passed,
my music grows more woodwind—
it’s my father’s strain at last.
The fingers that greet me this morning,
as I play in a minor key,
are thick as planks of spruce
with splinters plain to see.

Yes, my hands have betrayed my desires
to reprise a beloved score,
a gift life's symphony brought me—
the hands that my father wore.

Copyright©2000 by Nathan Harms