By Wayne Medford
Mine are the hands which turn the dial, which tune the controls,
Which turn the page,
Which swipe the screen, seeking insight in this new age.
Mine are the hands which clear one desk, seeking another,
Which now juggle many things,
Which seek a new way to balance.
Mine are the hands which adjust the screen, seeking information,
Which are learning new skills,
Which type in the code, bring you into vision.
Mine are the hands which open the door, uncertainly,
Which shield my eyes, surveying the scene,
Which reach down to grasp the lonely delivery.
Mine are the hands which tape out the distance, meter the flow,
Which re-arrange the interior,
Whose fingers count out the cost.
Mine are the hands turned slippery, alcohol-scented,
Which are inspected, learning cleanliness again,
Which adjust the mask, an alien visage.
Mine are the hands which are held to your clammy skin,
Which point the probe,
Which wonder which way to turn.
Mine are the hands which used to be busy in this, now silent, establishment,
Which still go through the tasks,
Which now just go through the motions.
Mine are the hands which tune into the bulletin,
Which trace through the words, seeking reason,
Which wonder why there seems only rhyme.
Mine are the hands which touch the tree, tracing the bark,
Which hold the flower, full of scent,
Which plant a seed, future ambition.
Mine are the hands which knock on your door,
Which wave at you through the window,
Which wave “Hello, goodbye”, just for now.
Mine are the hands which shake in the meeting,
Which now point a finger, which argue the toss,
Which now seek new routines.
Mine are the hands which shake yours,
Which hug you tight, with all my might,
Which take yours as you lead the way.
Mine are the hands which pick up the call,
Which ache to hold yours as you drift away,
Which speak when I cannot find the words.
Mine are the hands which hold the brush,
Which is filled with colours,
Which finds a rainbow, to lighten a day.
Mine are the hands which clapped for those hands on which we count,
Which count out the time, till this has all gone away,
Which I hope that you can count on.
This poem is partially inspired by Michael Rosen’s “These Are The Hands”. However, I tried to imagine a wider set of circumstances and experiences. The pandemic brought a focus on hands, as a source of virus infection, personal and communal infection and as something to be policed. I also imagined that how hands would be brought into focus, through being a medium through which different individuals would experience the pandemic.