Old Hands

The place where the school stood is empty now,
And bears only shades of the past.
The laughter of children is no longer heard,
Yet many sweet memories last.
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The old bell now silenced is long put away,
No longer to ring its’ sweet chime.
And gone are the hands that held that old bell,
Both gone with the passing of time.

And time passed so quickly, where did it go?
A question no one understands.
Our teachers are gone, yet I still see their face,
And I still see my teachers hands.

I watched those old hands wipe tears of a child,
While easing the pain of a hurt.
I watched them sew buttons and clothes that were torn
And wipe away dust, grime and dirt.

Old hands touched our lives in a special way,
But now at long last they’re at rest.
They rest from the labor of teaching and toil,
Now folded on our teachers breast.

There will come a time when we all hear the bell,
To be rang at the Master’s will.
And then by God’s grace, we’ll touch those old hands,
We children from Ole Stanleyville.

William R. Waterman, Sr

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5 thoughts on “Old Hands

  1. Bill, I am sure your poem will encourage teachers and remind them their hands will not go unnoticed even when they are living in the presence of the Lord.

  2. Bill, the fact that you still remember the hands of your beloved teachers gives us teachers, pause…selah! What else will they, our students, remember about us, their teachers? An uncommon patience? a smile to lighten the aura of the classroom? A kind sense of humor? A kind word or deed, like the teacher you describe in your poem? Or will they remember harsh admonishments, scoldings, sharp reprimands, rancor, constant criticism, impatience and frustrations? Those of us who depend on the Lord and heed His Word to “let the little children come to ME and hinder them not” may need to do a little soul searching as we tend our young, tender but precious charges, given to us by the Lord for just a few short year(s). But the love and care we give our students now will resound later in life and perhaps culminate in a tribute like that of Bill’s above.
    “Train up a child in the way he or she should go and when they are older they will not depart.”

  3. Bill I think what speaks to me, as a teacher, about your poem is that you don’t recall the facts your teacher taught you, but the acts your teacher left imprinted on your being. A character lesson of excellence lives on, a seed planted in our being, forever.

  4. Thank you for this beautiful poem I call to rememberance as I was reading it a school which stands now with broken windows and chipped paint, overgrown with weeds and not a soul in site in Toms Brook. Once it was thriving with children. We could sing Christian songs then and often sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”and “America the Beautiful”, My friends will attest that I love these songs still. I too don’t remember the lessons taught but the friendships, fellowship in the cafeteria, and team sports of basket ball and holiday’s like Christmas and the May Pole. I remember a teacher who would turn up the record player and let us dance.

    As a teacher I would hope that many remember sweet memories or an encoruagement that has been sown in their lives to result in a seed being planted that results in growth of men and women who are unique individuals and who are determined to fulfill their purpose.

  5. Bill,
    I had some great teachers growing up, but reading this poem, brought to mind, my fifth grade teacher. She always had a smile on her face, and always seemed happy. Her “hands touched my life in a special way”, and I will always be grateful for that, for “her hands are now at rest”. Thanks for sharing your poem.

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