Lady Macbeth was so freaked out by all the horrible things she had done to gain power, that she went a little nutty and thought she had blood on her hands that she couldn’t wash off.  ‘Out, damn spot!  Out, out I say’ she cries as she tries to wash the imaginary blood off.  Her hands, in her mind, were giving her away.  I’m not sure about this, yet I believe the saying ‘she has blood on her hands’ came from Macbeth.

Poets paid special attention to hands. They wrote of life, and death, appearing in people’s hands.  Keats ‘This Living Hand’ is a memento mori: it reminds us that we are all mortal and destined to die. Warm hands = life, cold hands = death was a common theme among Romantic Era poets.  I often find myself looking at peoples hands.  I remember my grandpa’s hands, they were tough and worn.  My grandma’s were vein-y.  I have a friend who’s hands are super stubby and weird looking and a friend who has ‘piano hands’ which means long skinny fingers.  If you pay attention, you will start to see the beauty and the ugly in peoples hands.  I watched a documentary recently on Ted Bundy, the serial killer.  And of all the things that stuck with me about his story, I remember the interviewer saying “I remember looking at his hands.  And I couldn’t help but be horrified at what those hands had done”.

Eyes might be the windows to the soul, but your hands tell the story of your life.  I hope at the end of my life, my hands will tell that I am happy and that I’ve lived a good life.  I hope they show I’ve been kind and did the best I could.  I hope they show I’ve worked hard and that a little dirt under my nails is ok.  I hope, in the end, I have no blood stains on them.

With love from Grand Haven,


‘To have seen much and to have nothing is to have rich eyes and poor hands.’