The Third Liturgical Hour ~ Prime

I look down at my hands

They are so uniquely mine

Each scar a reminder

of some distant carelessness

Each bold vein a portent

of some unspoken passion 

 How soft my hands have grown

since the season of another spring

when discolored calluses

caught roughly in Rosie’s hair

and splinters of cedar festered

darkly like unforgiven sins


I know these hands, though

now I study them detached

Know the unblushing good

of which they have been guilty

Know as well the darker evil

in which they have delighted


What will these hands do today?

To what tasks will they be given?

What hurt will they reach out

compassionately to touch?

Or will they only raise themselves

indulgently to grasp?


My fingers ache, O God

to hold the world in love

To run along the wrinkled lines

of its too early`aged face

and trace the sign of your Cross

upon its broken`hearted soul

 [Prayers for the Hours of the Liturgical Day]


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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