Anna Hempstead Branch

A Song for My Mother: Her Hands

My mother's hands are cool and fair,

They can do anything.

Delicate mercies hide them there

Like flowers in the spring.

When I was small and could not sleep,

She used to come to me,

And with my cheek upon her hand

How sure my rest would be.

For everything she ever touched

Of beautiful or fine,

Their memories living in her hands

Would warm that sleep of mine.

Her hands remember how they played

One time in meadow streams,—

And all the flickering song and shade

Of water took my dreams.

Swift through her haunted fingers pass

Memories of garden things;—

I dipped my face in flowers and grass

And sounds of hidden wings.

One time she touched the cloud that kissed

Brown pastures bleak and far;—

I leaned my cheek into a mist

And thought I was a star.

All this was very long ago

And I am grown; but yet

The hand that lured my slumber so

I never can forget.

For still when drowsiness comes on

It seems so soft and cool,

Shaped happily beneath my cheek,

Hollow and beautiful.