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. 
David Kettler