A Handy Little Poem

A Handy Little Poem

by Lynn Whitlark, copyright 1994

This hand is not here for your happiness.

Each finger exists to perform
a specific
a necessary
a beautiful
a wistful
an intrepid
and together these fingers form a window to the primitive soul
with grace and gentleness
and eerie, silent, ferocity

Soft pads tap and thump the rhythms of impatience
on the telegraph keys of a greasy tabletop
They journey to the curious exploration of another hand
and nails scratch away the paint

This hand is the hand of a lioness
If a lioness were to have a hand
It is a hand which grasps at straws
and buys its coal for pennies
which has occasionally traded the family cow
for a handful of magic beans
which has traveled across the back of man
to get to the other side
which has fondled pages and piano keys
trying to arouse Erato, Euterpe and Thalia
which has smoothed the hair of a toddling baby
and brushed the matte of morning from a grown man’s eyes

This is a hand which holds on forever
–not the forever of life
but the forever of God

This is a hand to be counted on
This is a hand to cling to
This hand is a thing to be grasped

This is the hand God made for balance
To steady a life teetering on the edge
To smooth the wrinkles and fold down the edges
into neat hospital corners

Perhaps this hand is here for your happiness —
For it may occasionally pull a quarter from behind your ear

Still. . .
Handle it carefully
Deal with it handily
Intention and eternity go hand in hand

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