When I Look at My Hands (for my dad)

Around 1977, I think the photographer was my mum.

When I look at my hands I think of my father,

and feel his pain through my fingers.

Rubbing the tips for the memory

of a working-class legend and his stories,


and I thank everything that can be thanked

for not being born into privileged rank,

(for an honest life cannot be bought

but must be learned the hard way).


I was born to a man who worked his soul,

twelve-hour days delivering coal,

ten ton he packed into hundredweight sacks,

while the English winter stabbed at his back.


I look at my hands & the mem’ries are ingrained,

and as I watch my hand drag a pen across this page,

I remember his hard work and sacrifice,

and thank him for being born into such a rich life.

Author: Mark William Jackson

Mark William Jackson's work has appeared in various print and online journals, including Best Australian Poems 2011, Going Down Swinging, Cordite, Popshot (UK), Rabbit, Page Seventeen, SpeedPoets and The Diamond & the Thief. Mark's debut poetry collection "The Frequency of God" is available now through all major outlets, see https://markwmjackson.com/the-frequency-of-god-is-now-available/ for details.


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