Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hands That Tremble

Hands That Tremble

Holding a dying creature during childhood
will leave you with hands that tremble.

The bird, tattered and bloody in the grass.
Restrain yourself from touching it.

The upturned, twitching moth, considering
its own mistake, bulb for moon.

The amputee cricket. The drowning worm,
stuck in a puddle. The punctured fish.

Your curiosity and compassion weaken you.
Watching a body go blank will tug

the ground up and down, infect you with tremors.
Yes, our footing is that precarious.


  1. Your first line wheels one in. In every couplet, we go through the experience.

  2. Hannah, you are so brilliant in this as to be breathtaking. Your poet-voice resonates, and the words sing with it.

    "The upturned, twitching moth, considering
    its own mistake, bulb for moon."


    PS: Have you ever linked to One Shot, I'm sure you've heard of it? This piece would be perfect for it. It's a communal writing blog, poets link to weekly, usually on Tuesdays, another way to meet & greet blog poets & the like! :)

  3. This was amazing! I just found you over at Terresa's blog The Chocolate Chip Waffle... very nice piece!

    Do you have a follow button? I hate to miss these pieces!

  4. so true but I had to chuckle about the moth...xox

  5. LOVE this one! I always had a shoe box filled with some injured critter....attempting to nurse it back to health. Birds and mice would break my heart.....

    the worse a little chick fallen out of a nest.... :(

  6. One of my earliest sad memories is that little bird. My hands still shake. Yes, it is all so precarious. Powerful poem, Hannah!

  7. You write this as if from the eyes of a child. I remember feeling this way. Beautiful poem.

  8. That first meeting with death change one forever. So nice the way you start with hands and end with feet.

  9. From Therese L. Broderick -- This is a beautiful, unflinching poem. Both painful and poignant. For me, the trembling initiated in childhood was re-activated when I had to hold my own daughter's sick or dying pets -- gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc. My husband used to "fish" with my daughter -- catch the fish with a hook that could be removed, then throw the fish back into the water.

  10. Hi Hannah,
    A parakeet died as I held it in my hands. The poor bird came home with us from the pet shop, and did not do well in his first few days. His name was Skylar. I was about twenty-eight. I hate seeing injured animals, or lizards when they are legless, or dying moths or butterflies, because you feel so helpless, knowing there is nothing you can do. But I'd rather feel that compassion, with hands that tremble, than not be affected. This is a beautiful poem.


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