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BooksJune 9, 2023

The Friday Poem: ‘Mary’s hands’ by Hana Buchanan

black and white photo of hands holding
Photo: Getty Images

A new poem by Te Aro Pā poet Hana Buchanan.

Mary’s hands

Mary’s hands were strong hands
Worker’s hands
Hands that had soothed and stroked
Hands that had held and carried
Hands that had prepared, planted, nourished, and harvested
Kneaded, cut, sliced, mixed, served, and garnished
Laid out, straightened out, cut out, pinned, sewed together, darned, pleated, zippered
Collected, separated, washed, hung up, brought in, folded, separated, delivered.

Hands that held books, oh so many books
Stories for the little ones
Stories for the bigger ones
Stories for believing, for soothing, for amazing, for looping on repeat.
Stories about philosophy, about soil and worms
Plants and their magic
Meditation and its magic
Mystical people and their magic.

All these, all this
in her hands.

Then a slowing, a changing, a gradual metamorphosis:
The busy hands, the worker hands, the caring hands, the providing hands, the gardening hands, the holding hands, the praying hands, the adjusting hat and scarf hands, the holding many books hands…became…

the resting hands, the curled hands, the quietly dignified hands, the returning to the earth in a basket hands.

Mary’s hands.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed.

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