Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BEAUTIFUL HANDS, by INA LADD BROWN

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BEAUTIFUL HANDS, by            
First Line: Oh, artist, if I should ask you
Last Line: I always keep in my heart.
Subject(s): Art & Artists; Hands; Memory; Paintings & Painters

Oh, artist, if I should ask you
To paint a picture for me
Of a pair of beautiful hands,
What, then, would your picture be?

Two hands of ivory whiteness
As soft as a baby's lips,
With nails like glistening seed-pearls
On velvety finger-tips?

Tapering, slender and shapely,
Worthy of jewelled bands;
Palms like the petals of rosebuds --
Are these your beautiful hands?

To me, my memory pictures
A vision softened by tears;
Hands not youthful and dainty
But weary and worn with years.

Hands that are rough from toiling,
Calloused, and blemished and scarred,
From sewing, washing and sweeping, --
Work that was long and hard.

Yet with fingers tender and loving,
Banishing care and fears, --
Smoothing pain from an aching head --
Wiping away our tears.

Though your hands of fragile beauty
Be praised by the world of art,
Mother's hands are the beautiful ones
I always keep in my heart.

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