Tuesday, July 20, 2010

granddaddy's hands

granddaddy's hands
(coffee & cream,
the texture of sandpaper)
smelled of wax
he twirled into his
handlebar moustache &
sooty singe of saving a life.

he saved each of us
in some way, me,
as the face i awoke to
on nights my body seized
in my sleep & my sister,
the day the hatchback
tried to eat her fingers,
leaving a mangled mess
of twisted flesh & as much
as those hands of his cared,
they were hard (when we
needed them to be) teaching us
respect, like waiting to open
presents on christmas until
all the dishes were done, so
all the family could be together,
the same respect he taught
the men that lined miles of road
in full salute as his pine box
made its last call & every
time i see a fireman, i look
and remember...

granddaddy's hands
(coffee & cream,
the texture of sandpaper)
smelled of wax
he twirled into his
handlebar moustache &
sooty singe of saving a life.


Ready to take your One Shot? One Shot Wedenesday, post a poem and come join us....it opens at 5pm EST tonight.

120 comments:

evalinn said...

That´s so beautiful, and I realise I remember my own grandfather´s hands perfectly! :-)

5thsister said...

a lovely read. i never knew my grandfathers or my grandmothers for that matter. we lived very far away and visits were few and far between. they were strangers to me. you make me long for that relationship i never had.

Becky said...

That was so lovely Brian, thanks so much for sharing.

Shadow said...

these are, indeed, the hands of a grandfather. beautiful!

Brigid said...

Beautiful and such a lovely tribute.

Alan Burnett said...

"handlebar moustache &
sooty singe of saving a life".

What a memorable pair of lines.

slommler said...

What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather.
I remember mine with hands so soft and one finger missing; with a black rosary in his hands and a smile in his eyes. Grandpa; a loving and happy man!
Thanks for sharing and stirring good memories for me.
Hugs
SueAnn

Sue J said...

This is lovely. Hands are easily remembered. I now have my mother's hands. Thanks for sharing.

ethelmaepotter! said...

This little bit of prose tells such a vivid and moving story in so few words. I envy that ability; have tried that 55 word thing, and failed miserably.

Your grandfather sounds like one any child would be blessed to enjoy. I only knew one grandfather, and I remember the little things about him, too: not so much his hands, but his speech impediment, and how he'd rub his "old sore knee," and how he called my grandmother "Gal."

See what I mean? I think my comment is longer than your post!

Susan Deborah said...

Age does it all, you know. Whenever I see aged people, I feel overwhelmed as they wear their years upon them proudly. I think of my old age and wonder.

Grandparents are a blessing. Truly.
My grandfather will turn eighty this 30th.

Joy always,
Susan

Daniel said...

Very lovely memory my friend.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Now that was loverly...I really enjoyed it.

little hat said...

Nice one Brian. Hands are very evocative. You're posting late. Me too. Took a while to get fired up!!. and I'm still recovering from jet lag. Excuses.

Austin said...

Tried to eat her fingers - great line!

CatLadyLarew said...

I love this. My grandmother was the one who saved my life. Hands of caring are precious!

Birdie said...

it looks like you have been surrounded by so many wonderful people Brian ... I never got to know my paternal granddad but I remember my mother's dad and as so many I do remember his hands (another brain mystery :-) ... but mostly I have been influenced by my grandmother and I miss her!

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful again, Brian!

Candie Bracci said...

wow,it's really beautiful!

Lorraine said...

Brian, it's so beautifully touching...

natalee said...

Oh this hit home... I miss my Papa everyday.. hes been gone for a while.. but he too was a fireman too....

soundoffreedom said...

what beautiful hands and you have written a fitting tribute!

Tony Single said...

What can I say here that the fine folks above me haven't already? Moving. Very moving. :)

Eternally Distracted said...

Beautiful Brian.

TechnoBabe said...

Really nice. I always respect a firefighter. Hard tough work when there is work to be done. I like the whole walk through this little story.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

As always, you created a picture of love and caring.

william said...

MEMORIES RECALLED, BRILLIANT....

Kay said...

very sentimental... I see those hands, mustache.... you're always great with visuals

The Bug said...

Lovely! My grandfather was a gruff old dude - definitely did NOT believe in pampering children. But I remember his hands because he gave the best back scratches ever - I still miss them!

steveroni said...

Absolutely left me breathless--I am related to a firefighter who used to be my little baby--afraid of butterflies!

Maggie said...

That was a wonderful tribute to your grandfather. Unfortunately, I never got to get to know mine.

dustus said...

The internal rhymes work very well with the imagery. My grandpa was a miner. Your writing made it easy for me to recall him as well as some of his mannerisms.

Dianne said...

As a hand therapist in a physical therapy clinic, this is very very touching, hee hee.
Dianne

ninotaziz said...

Firefighters...volunteers, sargeants, chiefs. All give their utmost every second on duty.

And I suddenly remember a firefighter in Canada who dreamed of nothing else but firefighting and saving lives. A friend from the past, 27 years ago to be exact.

An exceptional tribute [as always] to firefighters.

sheri said...

hey brian :) i so enjoyed the journey today, such admiration for a man who lived his life well! this could be more prophetic than you imagine for your own hands will be remembered by so many...hands that reached out to care, to lend a hand, and to comfort...all this and so much more, appearing effortless and as natural as breathing.

adeeyoyo said...

Beautiful tribute to a wonderful old timer! I only remember one grandfather who passed on when I was very young, but I never really knew him.

Tina said...

Wonderful tribute. Love "the sooty singe of saving a life". *Great* line.

Zuzana said...

What a beautiful recollection.
I recall my grandfathers hands in detail, as he had a genetic trait, that appears with old age in our family. I am starting to display it too and I keep thinking about him every time I become aware of my own hands...
Lovely post for my sunny afternoon cup of coffee...
:)
xoxo

TALON said...

Hands have always fascinated me. This poem was really beautiful. There are hands that are just plain trustworthy and wise.

Caty said...

this was wonderful. Makes me think of my own grandpa who I grew up with along with my parents. He's still a very special part of my life-I'm hoping to have him around a few more years. Very nicely written magpie!

Caty said...

this was wonderful. Makes me think of my own grandpa who I grew up with along with my parents. He's still a very special part of my life-I'm hoping to have him around a few more years. Very nicely written magpie!

Magpie said...

Hands can evoke such strong memories of either love or pain and sometimes both. I wasn't as close with my grandfathers as I was with my grandmothers, but I remember sitting on Grandpa Jake's lap in his rocking chair listening to his pocket watch tick in my ear.

Travel & Dive Girl said...

I'm fortunate that my grandfather is still alive, but his hands will certainly be in my memories.

Tom said...

don't have any granddaddy memories--yours are pretty good

Hilary said...

So beautiful. This gave me goosebumps.

EKSwitaj said...

coffee & cream,
the texture of sandpaper

Wonderfully evocative lines.

ds said...

This is perfect. You really captured his essence & I have goosebumps...
Thank you.

JStar said...

I love this...I remember my grandmothers hand...both of them..but was never close with my grandfathers to the point where I barely remember them, they died when I was quite young

Steven Anthony said...

a beautiful tribute....brings so many memories flooding back...time passes so fast,

PattiKen said...

Lovely tribute to your grandfather, Brian. You are lucky to have known him.

Sara said...

Brain,

I liked that you could make me feel your granddaddy's hands with your words.

In addition, your words show the place he holds in your heart and that's something special.

Thank you for sharing this poem:~)

Brian Miller said...

my grandfather died when i was about 12 so i remember bits and pieces of the brief bit of time we had together...he was my third grandparent to pass away in what little life i had at that point...his wife is still here and cracks us up at times.

drybottomgirl said...

Ahhhh, very nice. Both of grandparents played an important role in my life. They both had hard lives and their hands showed it. They were tough and well lined, full of hard work. They taught many invaluable lessons.....

moondustwriter said...

Nice Bri!!! Grandfathers are rough on the outside but that inner core is strong and kind for those little ones

One Shot Wednesday around the corner!!!

Jessie said...

warm and beautiful.

smiles,

Luisa Doraz said...

Both of my grandfather's died before I could meet them. The same goes for my two sons. The love of a grandfather is the best. :)

The girl with the flour in her hair said...

You need to write a book. Really. A poetry book.

signed...bkm said...

Wonderful Magpie and beautiful tribute to fireman...I respect them so much - especially here in California during fire season...it is amazing to see all those boys in trucks heading to the forest fires...God Bless them all....bkm

Meeko Fabulous said...

Awww, makes me wish I had gotten the chance to meet my grandpa. I hear he was a great man.

BLOGitse said...

I remember, we had to wait too until all the dishes were done...
Great story...

kathew said...

sweet lovely post-I never had a grandpa-they all had died beofre I was born. Lucky you!

Claudia said...

Brian - that was beautiful. I love that he was teaching respect and patience.
And I had to think of my own grandfather (he was a farmer) gently peeling an apple with his HUGE hands, that were so used to hard work.
Peaceful writing...

Titanium said...

Powerful reminder of the strength in those hands and the lessons and love your grandfather gave...

willow said...

Wonderful tribute to your granddad, Brian! I really like the lyrical sound of the first and last repeating stanzas.

kavisionz said...

I think that was a beautiful tribute to your granddad, and to all the firemen all over!
It was a neat gesture on your part, Brian!
Fond memories, some not so fond.. but invoking a sense of pride and gratitude nonetheless!
An excellent read !

Dorraine said...

You sure painted a fine memory of your grandpa. And not just his hands. He came alive through your words.

Eva Gallant said...

That was so special. You are lucky to have known your grandfather. I never knew mine.

buffalodick said...

Mine had old Dutchman's working hands...

Mom said...

A great tribute to your grandaddy. He was a fine man.

staceyjwarner said...

powerful stuff as always, nice to see your following continues to grow...now when is a book going to come out?

much love

anthonynorth said...

Such a beautiful tribute. Nicely done.

Stafford Ray said...

Brian Miller! I could spend all day reading your stories and poetry but have to eat! :-)

JennyMac said...

So incredibly vivid and beautiful.

rel said...

Brian,
Your ability to weave a story from bits and pieces of memory is phenominal.
rel

christine said...

What lovely memories you have and how you've described your grand father is quite beautiful.
I went to a funeral where all the small shop keepers lined the street
and it took my breath away, just seeing them bow their heads as it passed.
Beautifully written

Christine

Kira Stann said...

A wonderful poem. Made me ponder the times I spent with my Grandfather. He was my hero, too.

Helen said...

Beautifully and tenderly written ...

Baino said...

Lovely Brian. I actually focussed on my own father's hands for his Eulogy, the saddest and proudest thing I ever wrote. We open our Christmas presents in decending order of age. Very anal like that we are.

blueviolet said...

Sounds like he was the complete package.

Captain Dumbass said...

Callused tobacco yellow. Thanks.

Bossy Betty said...

That was just lovely....beautiful images.

Prayer Girl said...

I see him. I feel him. What a great job you did of conveying him to us.

PG

secret agent woman said...

That's a lovely remembering. I always hear in my mind my grandfather's rich Savannah voice as he read to us.

Brian Miller said...

i really am loving everyones memories...and sad for those that never had the opportunity....

AngelMay said...

Wonderful piece, Brian. Sounds like a wonderful man, too.

finallygettingtoeven.com said...

Wonderful memories of your grandfather through his hands. thanks for sharing!

Fragrant Liar said...

That was really nice. Evocative. Grandpa's hands. I always think of my father's hands.

I salute your grandpops.

Syd said...

Really nice. He must have been quite a fellow.

Jaime said...

very nice. and this one definitely made me miss my grandfather. but at least i still have the pieces he made me with his own hands

Jhannet said...

This was extremely touching. It reminded me of my guy's grandfather, he was much as you've described and well loved.

Regards ....

heartspell said...

What strong hands they were, that they could pass on that strength to the lives they touched...lovely and heartfelt. Heartspell

Cloudia said...

great tribute to a great person!




Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Joanna Jenkins said...

That was perfect.
jj

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I think this is one of my top favorites Brian. And how's that 92 comments!!

Mama Zen said...

This is gorgeous.

betweenhearts75 said...

This is such a beautiful tribute. I was very very close to my grandparents, sure miss them. So much granted, even long after....very well done.

Gwei Mui said...

Hello Brian, this is a wonderful piece, hands are so emotive, they do make you remember.

Pete Marshall said...

wow Brian this was really an amazing piece..when my beloved grandpa died the town lined the streets such was the man...thanks for stirring my mind and thinking of him..cheers Pete

ladynimue said...

perfect tribute and so touching :)

otin said...

My Grandpas hands smelled like cheese doodles! LOL! He loved junk food and a good baseball game.

Fireblossom said...

Oh you cheater, you combined One Shot and Magpie! (but don't worry, my lips are sealed, lol)

Your sister did WHAT? Omg.

Ross said...

Brian, Thank you for memorializing granddad here. Being only 7 when he passed I have few memories left of my time with him. This brought back several. Thank you! Ross

Emmanuel Ibok said...

I'm glad i didn't miss this outstanding piece of poetry. I love the way you poured it out without so mildly but yet so powerfully. 5star poetry.

the internet facility in Port Harcourt where is stay is quite poor thereby affecting my activeness but I'm glad I could make it one shot...Cheers!

Suz said...

it's really all in the details
crafted wonderfully

Mona said...

That one reminds me of my grandmom, who was equally awesome!

Desert Rose said...

i soo loved the read Brian,it hits home! i had a wonderful relationship with my grandparents,i miss them so much now..lovely way to bring back the sweet memories..:)

Cor said...

A beautiful poem. It is a touching tribute and it reminds all about those we love.

Ruth said...

Beautiful, round poem, Brian. One to admire, like your granddaddy.

Wild Rose said...

Very lovely tribute to your grandfather Brian, i loved reading it.

JH_Poetry said...

A nice tribute to your grandfather. You painted a picture of precious memories. Nice oneshot

Pat said...

This is so beautiful and a wonderful tribute to your grandfather.

My father had large hands, even though he wasn't that big of a man. But he was big in MY eyes. I miss his hands!

Goofball said...

this gave me shivers, what a beautiful salute

Mmm said...

I never knew any of my grandparents really. Feels like a loss but then , they weren't as dear as yours seems to have been.

Cheryl said...

You are, in a word, exceptional.

Marla said...

This is so beautifully written. My son-in-law is a fireman. I can't wait for him to read this.

Tabor said...

So many posts you will never get down to reading mine...but this was lovely!

blunoz said...

You continue to be a master of eliciting amazing images and stories with a very concise and carefully selected few words. This was awesome. Congrats on POTW.

Stacey Dawn said...

Beautiful story - my special grandpa had thick knots on his knuckles - rough from building and constructing and years of working. What a special man he was... I miss him so.

Cricket said...

Great poem. Belated congratulations on the potw. I'm just now catching up.

My own grandparents were some of the most significant people in my life. Of course, I have a soft spot for other people's too.

CherylK said...

This is a lovely poem, Brian, and well deserving of Hilary's POTW.

I only remember one grandfather but he lived in Ireland and we were in the United States so we didn't see him very often. But I remember when we visited in Ireland he was gruff but gentle. Thanks for tweaking my memory.

gone said...

Grand.

I only wish I could recall the sound of his voice.

Cheers, Brother.