Finlay’s Hours: ‘Strings’


A chronological collection of writing during my son’s first fortnight of life, in Neonatal ICU.

Your granddad always wanted to learn guitar,
So I gave him a lesson,
While we were fretting.

We fretted and plucked at strings
And I showed him things
He had only heard before:

Major chord, open,
With those same big hands
That laid the floor upon which you’ll crawl.

And with hands that painted Snowfall on walls,
I walked him through an open E.
Forefinger, middle, ring finger,

Three fingers sore.
But I was more calloused than he was,
Hardened to strings that push pack and keep us

Alert and aware of the pain that it takes
To turn metal and wood
Into something like music.



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