I wrote this a couple of years ago in memory of my Grandfather, a farmer. I used to spend a lot of time at the farm, seeing the land change from the barren dark of fallow fields to heaving with its bounty of grain, roots and grass, cattle trooping into the parlour for milking. Something reminded me of him today and I thought to dig this out.
Hands, Fingers and Seasons
Thick, strong hands, they were, that lifted me to
The battlements of my straw castles,
Roughened by the scratch of twine and scrape of Summer’s bale.
A worker’s loyal touch it was, that raised the song of Harvest home,
Fingers thick with bean soot and the dusty flours of wheat and barley grain.
Worn, safe hands, they were, that made a man of me
In black-earth fields of buried treasure, and
Toughened by the bite of frost and soak of Autumn’s mists.
A lover’s gentle touch it was, that held a wife and the bounty of a quiet faith,
Fingers rich with tenderness and friendship’s honest clasp.
Torn, scarred hands they were, that told the story of his days,
Shaped by tractor’s diesel roar and
Sweet-spiced carolling of Winter’s lamp-lit song.
A servant’s kindly clasp it was, that welcomed friend and stranger,
Fingers which turned both page and slide, and, in deeper reverence, praised.
Wise, weathered hands they were, that counted out our seasons,
Ploughing fields and scattering seed, and
Carefully coaxing out Spring’s calf to startled breaths.
A musician’s chords of Eventide it was, the easier, ebony press of old, familiar hymns,
Fingers that broke Heaven’s morning in gentle smiles of knowing kindness.
Yearly sown –
All now safely gathered in.