Stephen Vincent Benet


My wife's hands are long and thin, 
Fit to catch a spirit in, 
Fit to set a subtle snare 
For something lighter than the air. 

My brother's hands are long and fine, 
Good at verse and pouring wine, 
Good to spend and bad to hoard 
And good to hold a singing sword. 

My own hands are short and blunt 
Being children of affront, 
Base mechanics at the most 
That have sometimes touched a ghost. 

I ask between the running sands, 
A blessing upon four hands, 
And for mine an iron stake 
They can do their best to break. 

Now God the Son and God the Sire 
And God the triple-handed fire, 
Make these blessings come to be 
Out of your civility 
For four hands of courtesy.