A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. This is one of my favorite poems from way back in the day. :-) I had a huge anthology of poetry which I pored over; I loved reading it. I was probably 13 at the time and this poem has always stuck with me. I think this is absolutely how every woman of faith should judge her beauty. I was inspired to post this by Sis Aisha's post on her blog.
Beautiful faces are those that wear–
It matters little if dark or fair–
Whole-souled honesty printed there.
Beautiful eyes are those that show,
Like crystal panes where hearth-fires glow,
Beautiful thoughts that burn below.
Beautiful lips are those whose words
Leap from the heart like songs of birds,
Yet whose utterance prudence girds.
Beautiful hands are those that do
Work that is earnest and brave and true,
Moment by moment the long day through.
Beautiful feet are those that go
On kindly ministries to and fro,
Down lowliest ways if God wills it so.
Beautiful shoulders are those that bear
Ceaseless burdens of homely care,
With patient grace and daily prayer.
Beautiful twilight at set of sun,
Beautiful goal with race well won,
Beautiful rest with work well done.
Beautiful graves where grasses creep,
Where brown leaves fall, where drifts lie deep,
Over worn-out hands! Ah, beautiful sleep.
–Ellen P. Allerton
I remember always wishing I had the delicate hands with fine-boned, tapering fingers but alas, like you Sr. Aisha, I am from hardy peasant stock (birthin' hips and all! lol).
Then, amazingly, after the birth of my first child, my media-skewed opinion of myself changed. I saw a photo of me holding Zachary, my firstborn. It was an artsy-angle kinda pic (the boys' dad is an artist) and it showed my hands, my strong capable hands.
No they weren't holding an orchid or stroking a piece of gossamer silk :-). They were holding my baby, close and loving. They were holding his bottle, feeding him as my body could not. Since then I've had great respect for my hands, my capable, less-than-dainty, loving, caring, hard-working hands masha'Allah!