Bejewelled Hands (on a theme by Ted Hughes)

Your hands are long,
Obsessively, immaculately manicured
Slender, with tapering fingers
And long, long nails
Lacquered like Japanese enamel work.

When you break a nail
At work or through some domestic accident,
You shriek and claim this to be a tragedy,
Abandon everything and everybody
To repair this symbol of your vanity.

You have bejewelled hands,
Opals, emeralds, diamonds, rubies variously
Decorate your pride and joy, your hands,
While no jewels adorn elsewhere.
The jewels throw out light sabres to protect the rest of you.

You use your hands,
Lithe typists hands, muscular and dexterous,
To draw attention to yourself
To invite comment on your self acclaimed beauty,
And to ward off intimacy.

Even in old age your hands,
Are as carefully tended as your self obsession.
Skeletal now, but still you use them
To ward off close scrutiny
And deflect attention from the emptiness within.

Lynne Joyce 22.05.2012