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.
My mother has the prettiest tricks Of words and words and words. Her talk comes out as smooth and sleek As breasts of singing birds.
She shapes her speech all silver fine Because she loves it so. And her own eyes begin to shine To hear her stories grow.
And if she goes to make a call Or out to take a walk We leave our work when she returns And run to hear her talk.
We had not dreamed these things were so Of sorrow and of mirth. Her speech is as a thousand eyes Through which we see the earth.
God wove a web of loveliness, Of clouds and stars and birds, But made not any thing at all So beautiful as words.
They shine around our simple earth With golden shadowings, And every common thing they touch Is exquisite with wings.
There's nothing poor and nothing small But is made fair with them. They are the hands of living faith That touch the garment's hem.
They are as fair as bloom or air, They shine like any star, And I am rich who learned from her How beautiful they are.